Ilya Samsonov deemed himself “ready” to return to the Capitals last weekend, but it does not seem like the team agrees.
Friday afternoon, the Capitals announced that they re-assigned Samsonov back to the AHL’s Hershey Bears. The Bears play the Binghamton Devils at the RWJBarnabas Health Hockey House, Friday night. Puck drop is at 7 pm.
#Caps re-assign goaltender Ilya Samsonov from Taxi Squad to the Hershey Bears (AHL)
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) February 26, 2021
During his third rehab start, Samsonov gave up four goals on 19 shots in a 4-2 loss to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, but most of the goals were the fault of the Bears’ defense. Samsonov is 1-1-1 in his three rehab starts with the Bears, posting an .859 save percentage and 3.33 save percentage. He gave up four or more goals in two of his three starts.
Last weekend, Samsonov said, “I feel much better. Good experience for me. A couple good games. See everybody. Everything is good.”
He added, “First game was a little bit hard. It was different than practice. But second game was better. More conditioning and feel much, much better.”
Vitek Vanecek, who was named the NHL’s Rookie of the Month in January, has stepped up and started 16 of 19 games with Ilya out.
Vanecek, a noted grinder, is on the ice with goalie coach Scott Murray 30 minutes early. During the #Caps' current 4-1-1 stretch, Vanecek is 3-1-1 with a .928 save percentage and 2.00 goals against average.
— Tarik El-Bashir (@Tarik_ElBashir) February 26, 2021
“It’s one thing to be in practice,” Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said of Samsonov. “It’s another thing to be on the taxi squad. But it’s a really positive thing when you get game situations. So again, working on his conditioning, getting him back to a level where we’re setting him up for success in the net.”
Headline photo: Cara Bahniuk/RMNB
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