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Samsonov's Shaky Start, Leafs 2-2

Trust me, we’ve seen worse to start a Leafs' season.

Whether it’s the double hat tricks for Matthews, the slick movies from Nylander, or the somewhat concerning start from Samsonov, the first four games of the season have been nothing if not eventful.

The beauty of it all for Leafs fans is, we’ve got another 78 games to go before playoffs.

It’d be criminal for me to go any farther in this piece without addressing the insanity that is Auston Matthews scoring back-to-back hattricks in games one and two. The feat hasn't been accomplished since Alexander the Great (Ovechkin) did it in 2017, and before that, Cy Deneny over one hundred years ago.

Leafs fans are witnessing something truly special, as Matthews looks to take home his third Rocket Richard trophy, currently on pace for 123 goals this season. Though he might just settle for 65.

William Nylander isn’t far behind Matthews, with three goals and four assists to lead the Leafs in points alongside John Tavares.

Brad Treliving made it clear this offseason that if Nylander wanted a substantial raise, he would have to earn one, and he’s doing just that, as it looks like he’s already having another career year.

If he continues on this pace, the onus will shift to Treliving for a reason not to pay him at least $10 million per year.

Despite the individual accomplishments, the Leafs have just dropped two straight games.

The effort against the Blackhawks was mediocre at best. The team looked sloppy, tired, and disinterested. While the Florida game was a close-run thing, a loss is still a loss.

Ilya Samsonov has been struggling mightily, having given up eleven goals over three games for a .861 save percentage and a 3.67 goals-against average. While he didn’t look particularly bad against the Panthers, he’ll have to make some adjustments if he wants to keep his starting job, as Joseph Woll looked ready to seize it in the BlackHawks game.

The Leafs have also recalled depth centreman Pontus Holmberg from the Marlies, and will likely put him at fourth-line centre in place of Fraser Minten tonight against the Lightning in Tampa.

Dave Felsbourg


Saturday, October 21, 2023

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