NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs defeat Ottawa Senators 3-2


The Maple Leafs envisioned a two-man goaltender tandem set to begin this season after a summer of changes.

With his partner already sidelined, Ilya Samonsov has an early opportunity to stake his claim on Toronto’s crease.

The goaltender made 26 saves and Justin Holl scored the winner at 1:55 in Saturday’s regulation as the Leafs defeated the Ottawa Senators 3-2.

Samsonov started in place of Matt Murray, who was ready to compete against his former team before leaving the morning skate at Scotiabank Arena with a hijacker’s injury.

“This is hockey,” Samsonov said. “Sometimes you get into a bad situation. I’m ready all the time.”

The Leafs announced about an hour before the puck dropped against their provincial rivals that Murray, who was struggling to stay healthy in two seasons with Ottawa before a trade to Toronto, was placed on long-term injury reserve and will be out for at least four weeks.

“You never liked it when guys got hurt,” Holl said. “It’s very painful, both physically and mentally for guys.”

Erik Kallgren, who was eliminated in Friday’s Toronto Marlies AHL opener, was recalled and was healthy enough to dress up as a substitute.

Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas bet heavily on the Murray-Samsonov tandem – goaltenders with previous success but plenty to prove – in the offseason after trading off the often-injured Petr Mrazek and giving All-Star Jack Campbell freehand let run .

“He put a lot of work into it,” Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said of Murray. “He’s been healthy all the time, off-season, in training camp and pre-season. He put a lot of work into it.

“It’s disappointing for him… disappointing for us.”

William Nylander and David Kampf had the other goals for Toronto (2-1-0).

Claude Giroux, with a goal and an assist, and Shane Pinto responded for Ottawa (0-2-0), which gave Anton Forsberg 29 saves.

“We played well for the most part,” said Senators captain Brady Tkachuk. “But it definitely stings.”

Holl, a defender best known for playing across the rink, buried his first goal of the season after pinching the slot when Michael Bunting brought the puck to the blue color.

“It’s always good to pot one up,” Holl said.

Nylander pushed the Leafs 2-1 up 6-36 and stayed in third with his second after the Senators failed to leave the defensive zone.

But the visitors answered 1:25 later when Giroux hit home a loose puck for his first with Ottawa.

With their rebuild and a young core a year senior to Tkachuk, Tim Stutzle and Thomas Chabot, the Senators have had a headline-grabbing summer with new signings from Giroux, sharpshooter Alex DeBrincat and goaltender Cam Talbot, currently with a senior Mayhem.

Toronto, meanwhile, clinched their first win of the season on Thursday with a 3-2 triumph over Washington on Samsonov’s debut for the Leafs against the team that unleashed him.

After a 4-1 loss in Buffalo to open the game, Ottawa took a 9-09 lead on a power play when Pinto scored his second NHL goal with a one-timer after spending most of last season with a shoulder had missed injury. Rookie defenseman Jake Sanderson grabbed the second assist for his first point as a pro.

The Leafs leveled the game by 16.4 seconds in the middle when Kampf redirected Jake Muzzin’s shot through Forsberg’s pads.

Samsonov had to be sharp in the third as Tyler Motte swept the puck off TJ Brodie’s stick and hit on target as the Toronto defender ran in front of his own net before the teams scored three goals in under five minutes.

“It was pretty funny,” Samsonov said with a grin. “This is a difficult moment. You have to be prepared for that.”

The Leafs will need him to be a lot more ready in the coming weeks.


Murray only played 47 games in his two seasons with the Senators following a trade with Pittsburgh.

The 28-year-old has struggled to stay healthy in the nation’s capital, posting a 15-25-3 with a .899 save and 3.23 goals against average.

Senators head coach DJ Smith was asked about Murray on Friday when it looked like his former goalie would be in the starting XI against Ottawa.

“Don’t take anything from him,” Smith said. “He was injured all the time. He was very unlucky.”


Leafs: host the Arizona Coyotes on Monday.

Senators: Host the Boston Bruins at their home game on Tuesday.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on October 15, 2022.