Most Caps fans recall that the Washington Capitals lost 3-0 to the Las Vegas Knights on December 23, before breaking for Christmas. Meanwhile, on the “other” side of the pond, KHL teams were still playing, including Metallurg Magnitogorsk, the team with which Caps’ goalie prospect, Ilya Samsonov, currently plays. Magnitogorsk had traveled to Saint Petersburg to battle with SKA, the defending Gagarin Cup winner, who is currently sitting atop the standings in the Bobrov Division, the Eastern Conference, and the KHL. SKA is essentially the Golden State Warriors of the KHL.
Magnitka’s most recent game was on December 21, a 4-1 victory against CSKA in Moscow, the leader of the Tarasov Division and in second place in both the Western Conference and in the KHL, overall. Samsonov was the winner in that game. Now, it was on to Saint Petersburg. Once again, Samsonov, who had done so well in the game against CSKA, was in goal against SKA.
The game was scoreless after Period 1, with SKA outshooting Magnitka 12-8. It remained scoreless after two periods, as well, where SKA outshot the visitors again, this time 14-10.
But at 4:36 in third period, SKA scored against the visitors when Sergei Shirokov potted a close-range backhander.
Just 22 seconds later, Ilya Kablukov scored for SKA, with assists from Viktor Tikhinov and Maxim Karpov.
SKA now lead 2-0. Both of the goals came on defensive mistakes by Metallurg defenseman, Chris Lee. The game report by Sports Express Russia described the goals as “New Year’s Day gifts”.
SKA added two more goals for the game, a power play goal by Sergei Plotnikov, with assists by Vadim Shipachyov and Nikita Gusev at 10:02 in the period, and at 17:25 when Vladislav Gavrikov scored, with assists from Vyacheslav Voynov and Shipachyov. The final score was 4-0. SKA outshot Magnitogorsk 14-3 in that period and totally dominated play. Overall, Samsonov stopped 36 of the 40 shots he faced in a game where the defense hung him out to dry during the third period.
After the game, Head Coach, Viktor Kozlov said that it was not acceptable for the team to make mistakes in their defensive zone when playing a team like SKA.
“It’s hockey. It’s a process. We will analyze and try to correct mistakes. With a team like SKA, you have to endure, not make mistakes and realize your moments, which are rare there, but are created. And what led to the goal? You cannot make a mistake. you cannot give a chance in your zone. They have good players, they have successfully seized the moment.”
The press also talked to Wojtek Wolski, former Capital, about the game. He said the team needed to focus more. “Against a team like SKA, you have to play all 60 minutes. Yes, we had quite good two periods, in the second the opponent had excellent chances. It seems that we are moving in the right direction, but we need to focus a little more, and we are sure that we will be able to use all the chances that we have. Of course, the opponent cannot be given a chance for a chance – someday they will score. I’m happy about how we worked today, but we need to add more.”
The game story for Samsonov and his team sounds all too familiar. On Saturday night, the Caps had hung goalie, Braden Holtby, out to dry during the first period. Today, Metallurg Magnitogorsk had hung Ilya Samsonov out to dry during third period. The postgame press conferences talked about the teams lacking focus against a quality opponent.
Prior to the game, Viktor Kozlov was confirmed as Head Coach of the team, removing the “Interim” portion from his title. Team President, Victor Rashnikov, approved the appointment while team Vice-President and General Manager Gennady Velichkin announced the news then. Other coaches for the team include Michael Polino and Sergei Zvyagin, the goaltending coach.
Capitals’ Goalie Prospect Ilya Samsonov Beats CSKA Moscow in First Apperance in Nearly a Month
Game Statistics from KHL Site
Game Story From Metallurg Magnitogorsk Web Site
Kozlov’s Press Conference After Game
Game Story from Championat Russia
Wojtek Wolski Talking to Press Post Game
Story from Sports Express Site