TORONTO — Veteran goaltender Matt Murray, in the midst of a comeback season with the Maple Leafs, will be out through the NHL All-Star break and Toronto’s subsequent bye week, coach Sheldon Keefe said on Sunday.
Murray is nursing an ankle injury, but Keefe told reporters that it isn’t expected to keep him out long term.
Murray, 28, was scheduled to start Friday’s 6-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators, one of his former teams, but was a late scratch. Ilya Samsonov, also in his first season with the Maple Leafs, started that game, as well as Sunday’s 5-1 victory over the Washington Capitals.
“There’s something there that’s going to require some time for sure,” Keefe said of Murray’s injury. “The length of time we won’t quite know really until we come back from the break. We’ll have a better idea of exactly where that’s at.”
Samsonov made 23 saves in his sixth straight start, and Morgan Rielly scored his first goal of the season as Toronto bounced back in a matinee game.
Michael Bunting, William Nylander, Pierre Engvall and Zach Aston-Reese also scored for Toronto in the win, as the Maple Leafs took a five-point advantage over the Tampa Bay Lightning for second place in the Atlantic Division.
“We wanted to respond,” Rielly said of Friday’s performance against Ottawa. “We weren’t very proud of ourselves when we were leaving here after that game.”
Keefe also mentioned pregame that Samsonov’s extended workload of late was not a direct result of Murray’s injury, saying that the team wanted to give Samsonov “a run.” And he’s delivered. Samsonov, 25, who signed with Toronto in free agency after being cut loose by Washington in the summer, is now 16-5-2 with a 2.37 goals-against average.
Murray, a two-time Stanley Cup winner with the Pittsburgh Penguins, is 11-5-2 with a 2.73 GAA.
The Maple Leafs will play their last game before the break on Wednesday, when they take on the first-place Boston Bruins.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.