Toronto Maple Leafs Tuesday Tidbits and Weekend Review

Two games over the weekend against championship-caliber opposition in the Edmonton Oilers and Carolina Hurricanes provided valuable feedback on the current plight of the Leafs.
Mar 11, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (34) battles with Connor McDavid (97) of the Edmonton Oilers.
Mar 11, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (34) battles with Connor McDavid (97) of the Edmonton Oilers. / Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
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The Toronto Maple Leafs faced off against two Stanley Cup contenders over the weekend, the Edmonton Oilers and the Carolina Hurricanes.

With Mitch Marner still sidelined with a high ankle sprain, Calle Jarnkrok out for the foreseeable future, Tyler Bertuzzi under the weather and T.J. Brodie a healthy scratch, it provided others the opportunity to get into the Toronto Maple Leafs lineup and perform.

For head coach Sheldon Keefe, the games against the Oilers and Hurricanes allowed him to assess his roster and try to further narrow possible line combinations and defense pairings in preparation for the first game of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Without further ado, here are some observations from the weekend that was for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Toronto Maple Leafs Injury Concerns are Mounting

After missing Sunday's game against the Hurricanes, Marner has now missed the last seven games. While last week's report that he was "progressing" is encouraging, there has to be concern about the seriousness of the injury.

Remember that Timothy Liljegren and Joseph Woll took a long time to return from similar high ankle issues. The Leafs are rightfully being cautious with the injury and giving him all the time he needs to recover.

There is still plenty of time for rest, but in the not-too-distant future, Marner needs to get back on the ice. Getting in some reps with his teammates and returning to game shape is necessary before the playoffs start. Only then, can Leafs management and their fans exhale.

Equally important, is the status of the Leafs goaltending. It is once again in flux thanks to the injury suffered by Ilya Samsonov late in Saturday's game against the Oilers.

Post-game, Keefe downplayed the injury and said that it looked worse than it appeared. The Leafs can only hope that is the case.

Since his midseason demotion, Samsonov's play has improved, although he still allows three goals pretty much every time he plays. He may not always look efficient and graceful, but he wins. He leads the Leafs goalies in wins and is among the league leaders in win percentage and points-percentage.

Woll has the higher ceiling of the two goaltenders, but he has struggled since his return from a high-ankle sprain. Ideally, Samsonov's injury is short term and the Leafs can continue sharing the goaltending load and have both in peak form for the playoffs.

Against the Hurricanes, Woll had his best game since returning from his injury, making a season-high 41 saves. With Samsonov temporarily on the shelf, Woll has a golden opportunity to reclaim the job as the number-one netminder to start the postseason.