It’s been a busy past few weeks for Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov.
Back in April, the 26-year-old and his wife Maria welcomed a new baby boy into the world. Around the same time, the Leafs starter began leading the team to their first playoff series win since 2004. When the big moment finally arrived during Game 6 on Saturday night, those two milestones collided.
“My wife, she said it was so loud when we won because we live downtown that my baby was like waking up,” Samsonov told reporters on Monday.
Ilya Samsonov is loving the playoff buzz in Toronto. Said his wife sent him videos of Scotiabank crowd reaction after Game 6:
“My wife, she said it was so loud when we won, because we live downtown, that my baby was like waking up”
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) May 1, 2023
Despite the mild inconvenience, the goalie says he’s been loving the playoff buzz in Toronto. Meanwhile, fans have been loving his recent on-ice performance.
Samsonov topped off the regular season with a career-high 27 wins with a 2.33 GAA .919 SV%. And aside from a rough loss in Game 1 of the series, the Russian netminder has been solid throughout the playoffs so far as well.
“The first thing that stands out is the play of Samsonov,” said Leafs Head Coach Sheldon Keefe after Toronto closed out the series on Saturday. “He was so solid all night long. That just gave the group such incredible confidence.”
His teammates have also made note of his exemplary play.
“I thought he was great, especially his response to the ups and downs of the playoffs,” said fellow Toronto goalie Matt Murray, who returned to practice on Monday after suffering a concussion last month. “He was incredible. I thought he was the reason that [we] won a couple games.”
With the Leafs’ second-round matchup against the Florida Panthers set, Samsonov will get the opportunity to continue his campaign between the pipes. With that comes the chance to take Toronto farther than they’ve gone in decades.
Have a game, have a smile 😀 pic.twitter.com/GBkD0UeUmq
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) April 30, 2023
If they win another round, you can expect Leafs Nation to get twice as loud as they were on Saturday. And in that case, Samsonov might need to invest in some earplugs for his baby.
Puck drop for Game 1 is at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at Scotiabank Arena.