The Washington Capitals held their morning skate in Philadelphia hours before they’re slated to take on the Flyers for the second time this season. The team will look to win two games in a row for only the second time since the calendar flipped over into 2022.
Getting the netminding duties for his fourth straight start in a row will be Ilya Samsonov. The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir also reported that Vitek Vanecek hit the ice with the team as well. Vanecek is still working back from his upper-body injury and remains on injured reserve.
Samsonov has amassed a 16-7-3 record this season with a 2.83 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage. He has put together a couple of impressive outings as of late, downing the Montreal Canadiens with 42 saves a week ago and topping the Nashville Predators while only allowing one goal on 34 shots.
“He made some big saves, he looked really sharp tonight,” Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette said of Sammy’s performance in Nashville.
Samsonov is getting the latest opportunity for a Caps goaltender to handle the number one duties. The team has tasked four separate goaltenders with starts this season as they continue to struggle to find consistency in net and rumors swirl that they’re interested in acquiring a veteran goaltender at the trade deadline.
“I feel I’m playing better and better. Got some more time on the ice,” Samsonov told the media after Tuesday’s win. “Sometimes little bit up and down right now but if we see big picture we have a good progression with the team and with me. Physically I feel good, I get ready to play day by day. You feel more and more confidence. I really like it when I get more time.”
Not present for Thursday’s morning skate was defenseman Justin Schultz, who Laviolette told reporters is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Schultz suffered the injury in the first period against the Preds.
Taking Schultz’s spot on the third defensive pairing next to Trevor van Riemsdyk will be Michal Kempny who is slated to get his first action since January 26. The rest of the lineup looked like this via The Washington Post’s Samantha Pell.
Tom Wilson and Conor Sheary flipped places in the top-six forward group which was a change Laviolette initially made during the game in Nashville. It also appears that Brett Leason will enter the lineup for the first time in a week and Daniel Sprong will be a healthy scratch.
The Flyers come into Thursday night’s action sporting a 15-24-9 record that sees them barely staying above the Metropolitan Division’s last-place New Jersey Devils. Philadelphia has had separate losing streaks this season of ten and thirteen games and is currently riding an active three-game streak of the same variety.
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
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