Sheldon Keefe gets honest about Ilya Samsonov's struggles

The Leafs net minder has been lit up lately.



The Toronto Maple Leafs were absolutely clowned by the division rival Buffalo Sabres last night at KeyBank Centre, conceding nine goals by the time that it was all said and done. 

For goaltender Ilya Samsonov, it was a particularly rough outing, as he allowed five goals on just 14 shots against. He would eventually be replaced in net by Martin Jones, who began the year as Toronto's 3rd stringer playing in the American Hockey League. 

Afterward, head coach Sheldon Keefe stopped short of laying the blame for the embarrassing setback at Samsonov's feet and instead elected to try and build up his goaltender.

"We have to play better in front of him and give him a chance to find himself," he said. 

"He is going to do his work with Curtis. He has been doing his work. When he is in the net, the guys in front of him have to give him a chance."

When asked about Samsonov's mental state, Keefe also pushed back against using the word "concern" to describe him, and instead once again directed the problem outwardly and stated that it's a team effort to try and help him get over the hump.

"You guys always bring out the word concern," he said. "It is not the right way to frame it. We need to be very aware of it and we need to help him through this."

The Leafs are next in action tomorrow night against the Columbus Blue Jackets, who had previously put nine goals up on the Sabres earlier in the week. As far as what Keefe and the rest of the coaching staff plan to do with the film from last night's game, the Leafs bench boss was rather direct. 

"We won’t dissect it, but we won’t forget it," Keefe stated. 

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