The Washington Capitals are not in the playoffs, but two of their former backstops are, and they both got smoked on Tuesday night.
New Jersey Devils goalie Vitek Vanecek gave up four goals in his team’s loss to the Rangers. Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Ilya Samsonov gave up six goals before he was pulled against the Lightning.
So two ex-Caps goalies combined to allow 10 goals on 51 shots.
Vanecek had precious little goal support in the Devils’ first game, but he didn’t help his cause, giving up two goals in the game’s first ten minutes. In the end he saved 18 of 22 shots faced for an .818 save percentage. According to Natural Stat Trick, that was 1.6 goals below expected.
His worst goal of the night was probably Ryan Lindgren’s.
Lindgren had a narrow angle, but Vanecek dropped early, giving Lindgren (not exactly a sniper) a gap to hit up top.
Meanwhile, in Toronto, Ilya Samsonov fared even worse. Saving just 23 of the 29 shots he faced, Samsonov’s save percentage in game one was .793. Natural Stat Trick reckoned that performance allowed 2.4 goals more than expected.
Samsonov got the hook after the second period, but not before serving up a few tantalizing rebounds to Tampa, including this one for Anthony Cirelli.
The loss is one of the worst Toronto has ever suffered in a Game 1.
Most Goals Against in a Game 1 in the entirety of Leafs Hockey
10 — 1969 vs Boston
9 — 1981 vs NYI
7 — 1955 vs Detroit
7 — Tonight vs Tampa
— Big Head Hockey (@BigHeadHcky) April 19, 2023
Samsonov’s playoff record is now 1-7.
After the 2021-22 season, the Capitals opted not to keep either goaltender. They received draft picks for sending Vanecek to the Devils, where he put up a 33-11-4 record. Washington did not send an offer to Samsonov, who signed with Toronto and put up a respectable performance, saving 18 goals above expected in 42 games.
The Capitals signed Darcy Kuemper and Charlie Lindgren in free agency, who saved 8.8 goals above expected and 3.9 goals below expected, respectively.
RMNB is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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