Rookie goaltender Ilya Samsonov will start in goal for the Capitals on Thursday as Washington takes on the New Jersey Devils in a Metropolitan Division clash.
The 22-year-old Russian earned his first career shutout Monday against Carolina, making 23 saves in the Caps 2-0 win.
Samsonov will start tomorrow vs. New Jersey, per Reirden. “He’s earned it.”
— Tarik El-Bashir (@Tarik_ElBashir) January 15, 2020
“I have decided who will start. Samsonov will play tomorrow,” head coach Todd Reirden announced after practice. “I just thought he obviously played phenomenal last game. Something I like to see him against New Jersey – back-to-back home game. I think he’s earned it. Now it’s a chance to for him, again, to take another step. Continue to give him different challenges, one after another here, without overwhelming him. I think this is the right move, the fair move, and a move that is deserved. Now we’ll see how he does in a situation like this where it’s not back-to-back, back-to-back starts in terms of games that we’re playing. It’ll be good to watch tomorrow.”
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) January 15, 2020
Samsonov has won 13 of his first 15 starts in the NHL, a new Capitals franchise record, and has flummoxed opposing teams with his poise, size, and athleticm. And he keeps getting better with more experience.
Samsonov recently made a career-high 38 saves during a January 3 game against the Hurricanes. In his last four starts, Samsonov is 4-0 with a .960 save percentage. He’s stopped the last 119 of the last 124 shots he’s seen.
While Braden Holtby still remains firmly entrenched as the team’s number one goaltender, GM Brian MacLellan reiterated yesterday during Nicklas Backstrom’s news conference that the team would not decide on a new contract for the Holtbeast until after the season concludes.
With tomorrow’s outing, Samsonov will have started four of the team’s seven games in January.
Headline photo: NBC Sports Washington
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