Holl scores late winner, solid Samsonov in place of injured Murray as Maple Leafs beat Senators
The Maple Leafs were considering a two-headed goalie tandem to start this season after a summer of change.
With his partner already sidelined, Ilya Samonsov has a first chance to claim his place in the Toronto crease.
Samsonov started in place of Matt Murray, who was set to get the call-up against his former side before leaving morning practice at Scotiabank Arena due to an abductor injury.
« It’s hockey, » Samsonov said. « Sometimes you are put in a bad situation. I am ready all the time. »
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The Leafs announced about an hour before the face-off against their provincial rivals that Murray, who had struggled to stay healthy in two seasons with Ottawa before a trade to Toronto, had been placed on the long-disabled list. term and will miss at least four weeks.
« You never liked seeing guys get hurt, » Holl said. « It’s very painful, both physically and mentally for the guys. »
Erik Kallgren, who was knocked out of the Toronto Marlies AHL opener on Friday, was called up and healthy enough to dress up as a substitute.
Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas bet big on the Murray-Samsonov tandem — goaltenders with past success but plenty to prove — this offseason after trading often-injured Petr Mrazek and leaving the star Jack Campbell walk in free agency.
« He’s worked hard, » Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said of Murray. « He’s been healthy all through the off-season, training camp, pre-season. He’s worked hard.
William Nylander and David Kampf scored the other goals for Toronto (2-1-0).
Claude Giroux, with a goal and an assist, and Shane Pinto replied for Ottawa (0-2-0), which got 29 saves from Anton Forsberg.
« Overall we played well, » Senators captain Brady Tkachuk said. « But it definitely stings. »
A defenseman best known for his play at the other end of the rink, Holl buried his first goal of the season after sinking into the crease as Michael Bunting carried the puck towards the blue paint.
« Always good to put one on, » Holl said.
Nylander pushed the Leafs up 2-1 with 6:36 left in third with his second after the Senators couldn’t clear the defensive zone.
But the visitors responded 1:25 later when Giroux hit home with a loose puck for his first with Ottawa.
Claude Giroux with his premiere as Sen! #NHLFaceOff pic.twitter.com/Z0756KqEi7
With their rebuild complete and a young core led by Tkachuk, Tim Stutzle and Thomas Chabot a year older, the Senators enjoyed a headline-grabbing summer with the addition of Giroux, sniper Alex DeBrincat and goalkeeper Cam Talbot, who is currently out with an upper-bodily injury.
Toronto, meanwhile, picked up its first win of the season on Thursday in a 3-2 triumph over Washington in Samsonov’s debut for the Leafs against the team that released him.
The Leafs tied the game with 16.4 seconds left in the middle of the period when Kampf redirected Jake Muzzin’s shot through Forsberg’s pads.
Samsonov had to be precise in the third when Tyler Motte swept the puck off TJ Brodie’s stick and on goal as the Toronto defenseman skated in front of his own net before the teams scored three times in less than five minutes.
« It was pretty funny, » Samsonov said with a smile. « It’s a tough time. You have to (be) ready for it. »
The Leafs will need him to be ready a lot more in the coming weeks.