Several weeks ago, GM Brian MacLellan told Tarik El-Bashir that the Capitals needed to see growth from both of their young goaltenders. After Zach Fucale absolutely stunned in his NHL debut with a shutout, Ilya Samsonov has found another level in his game and is attempting to separate himself from Vitek Vanecek.
Tuesday, Samsonov will get his fourth straight start in net from head coach Peter Laviolette.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) November 30, 2021
“He’s played well,” Laviolette said after the Capitals morning skate on Tuesday. “They’ve been big games. He’s done a good job.”
Since Fucale’s start, Samsonov has gone undefeated in his last six starts, giving up 11 goals. The Russian netminder defeated two of the best teams in the league during that stretch, the Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes, and posted back-to-back shutouts against the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks en route to a second star of the week nod from the NHL.
According to Money Puck, Samsonov has stopped 3.8 goals above expected, 18th best in the NHL, and has provided a value of 0.64 wins above replacement (Vanecek is -0.40).
As for the team in front of Sammy, Laviolette will go with the same exact lineup against the Panthers that it did on Sunday against the Hurricanes, meaning Daniel Sprong will be a healthy scratch for the second straight game.
Capitals lines at AM skate in FLA:
— Samantha Pell (@SamanthaJPell) November 30, 2021
The Capitals also had no one in COVID protocol after the Hurricanes announced two players landed there on Monday.
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