Vitek Vanecek was tremendous against the Buffalo Sabres, Saturday.
After toiling in the minor leagues for five seasons, Vanecek made his NHL debut on Friday and stopped 30 of 31 shots, earning his first career victory and shaving cream pie to the face. “The dream came true,” said the Czech netminder.
Tom Wilson, however, believes the stats are wrong. After the game, the second-line right wing explained why Vanecek actually had a shutout.
During the second intermission, head coach Peter Laviolette tweaked the Capitals’ lines to give the team a spark. Nicklas Backstrom centered Alex Ovechkin and Tom Wilson on the first line while Evgeny Kuznetsov skated with Jakub Vrana and TJ Oshie.
“It didn’t start so well,” Wilson said laughing.
Thirty-one seconds into the third period, the newly-formed top trio surrendered a goal during their first shift together. A Rasmus Ristolainen wrist shot found its way through heavy traffic and hit the back of the net, tying the game 1-1.
“It hit my calf and went in,” Wilson said. “I think Vitek hasn’t had another team score on him yet. We’ll keep it going. He played a great game. It was kind of unfortunate that bounce went in on him.”
Nicklas Backstrom added, “I was really impressed by how [Vitek] handled everything. Very calm back there.
“Coming in at this stage, Buffalo played way better than us and they really attacked him tonight. Looking at the game overall, he won the game for us.
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