Ilya Samsonov details “hardest in my life” struggles

The Leafs net minder won a game for the first time in a while.



The Toronto Maple Leafs earned a crucial victory last night at Climate Pledge Arena, defeating the Seattle Kraken that saw goaltender Ilya Samsonov pick up his first win in over a month; in fact, he hadn't won a game for the Leafs since December 9, a period of 43 days. 

It's been a rough go of it for Samsonov this season, who has struggled mightily to keep the puck out of the net. In fact, he was even waived by the Leafs and subsequently sent down to the American Hockey League affiliate Toronto Marlies when none of the other 31 NHL teams picked him up. 

Needless to say, Samsonov was feeling much better after last night's win. 

"Maybe after the game not a lot of emotion but I'm so excited," Samsonov said about the win. 

As far as his season struggles go, Samsonov admitted that they were the toughest struggles of his life.

"Just stay in the moment. Stay in the moment and help the team for the win," he said. "From October until two weeks ago it was probably the hardest in my life. But life is moving forward. I'm staying positive. I kind of forgot about what was going on in the past. Just focused on today and focused on the moment. Day-by-day."

The way that Samsonov is choosing to respond to having been placed on waivers and sent down to the minors worked out in his favor, according to the Russian goaltender.

"It helped for me for a couple of games to take a step back for moving forward," he said. "It was really important for me, being a really bad spot, especially mentally. But I'm good right now."

The Leafs are off until Wednesday night when they bring in the Western Conference-leading Winnipeg Jets to Scotiabank Arena. Has Samsonov done enough to earn another start between the pipes? 

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