For the second year in a row, Vitek Vanecek will get an opportunity to begin the postseason as the Capitals’ starting netminder.
On Tuesday during the Capitals’ morning skate, Peter Laviolette announced that the 26-year-old Czech goaltender will be in net for Game One.
— x – Washington Capitals (@Capitals) May 3, 2022
“We gave Vitek the start last year, as well,” Laviolette said per The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir. “It didn’t go the way he wanted or as planned. But the body of work he had this year earns him the start for Game One.”
Vanecek finished the regular season with a 20-12-6 record and a .908 save percentage. His -5.4 Goals Saved Above Expected ranked 84th in the league per Money Puck.
Laviolette said earlier in the week that whoever plays in Game One “is where we’re going to start. You’d like to see the goaltender just take off and run.”
Vanecek started one game against the Florida Panthers this season. The second-year pro gave up two goals on 15 shots before being pulled 36:22 into the game. Ilya Samsonov played in all three games and gave up 11 goals on 91 shots (.879 save percentage).
If Vanecek struggles, the team will likely turn to Samsonov quickly in the series as Laviolette admitted no goaltender has grabbed the reigns and run with the position.
“It hasn’t happened, but yet, in a 100-point season, we’ve been able to find success in that,” Laviolette said Monday. “They are two young goaltenders that are pushing every day. That’s where we’re at right now. That’s how we’ve found success. We relied on both goaltenders. We’ll count on both goaltenders.”
Let’s hope VV = W in this series.
— Tyler Duchaine (@tylerduchaine) May 3, 2022
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