Leafs goaltender Matt Murray out with head injury
TORONTO – Matt Murray is back on the sidelines.
Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe announced Tuesday the oft-injured Toronto goaltender is out day-to-day with a head injury.
The 28-year-old was hurt in the first period of Sunday’s 5-2 home defeat to Detroit when Red Wings forward Lucas Raymond lost an edge and accidentally slid into the back of the unsuspecting netminder’s legs.
Murray, who tumbled to the ice in a heap, was looked at by a trainer before ceding the crease to Ilya Samsonov.
The Thunder Bay, Ont., native has a long injury history — including past concussion and neck issues — following a bright start to his career that included winning the Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in both 2016 and 2017.
“It would be difficult to put a timeline on it before we give him more time to settle,” Keefe said Tuesday morning of Murray’s status. “He’s got a head injury … he’s got some other stuff as well.”
Murray, who missed significant time earlier in the schedule with groin and ankle injuries, is 14-8-2 with one shutout, a .903 save percentage and a 3.01 goals-against average in 26 appearances this season.
Prior to departing Sunday’s game against Detroit, he had allowed four goals against in seven of his last eight appearances.
Samsonov, who was already trending towards being named Toronto’s Game 1 starter of the playoffs, is 25-10-4 with four shutouts, a .915 save percentage and a 2.41 GAA.
With Murray out, the Leafs recalled Joseph Woll from the American Hockey League’s Toronto Marlies on an emergency basis.
The 24-year-old rookie has played four games with the Leafs this season, going 3-1-0 with a .934 save percentage and a 2.03 GAA.
Expected to make the ninth NHL start of his career Tuesday against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Woll is 16-4-1 with a .927 save percentage and a 2.37 GAA in 2022-23 with the Marlies.
“He’s been great,” Toronto defenceman Morgan Rielly said. “He’s been playing really good hockey. He’s a guy who loves coming to the rink. He works hard.
“He’s played outstanding.”
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The Leafs also loaned forward Radim Zohorna, who played his first two games with the team over the weekend, back to the AHL.
Murray was acquired by Toronto from Ottawa in July along with two draft picks for future considerations. The Senators are picking up 25 per cent of his US$6.25-million salary cap hit both this season and in 2023-24.
Ottawa got Murray from Pittsburgh in an October 2020 trade before agreeing on a four-year, $25-million contract with an eye toward having him lead a young group as the franchise hoped to emerge from a long rebuild.
But the fit just never worked with the Senators and Murray, whose statistical profile had started to decline before he left the Penguins.
In his last season with Pittsburgh and two in Ottawa, he suited up for just 85 games because of various injuries, going 35-36-8 with four shutouts, an .899 save percentage and a 3.06 GAA.
A low point came in November 2021 when he passed through NHL waivers and was demoted to the Senators’ AHL affiliate.
Murray was eventually recalled by the Senators and had a decent finish to a 2021-22 campaign cut short by a neck injury before the summer trade.
The Leafs are locked into a first-round playoff rematch with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Toronto fell to its Atlantic Division rival last spring in seven games and hasn’t advanced in the post-season since 2004.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 4, 2023.
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&© 2023 The Canadian Press
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