Daniel Sprong To Make Capitals’ Debut vs. Penguins, Conor Sheary Scratched Against Former Team; Ilya Samsonov In Net

Washington Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette announced that forward Daniel Sprong will get a chance and come into the lineup in favor of forward Conor Sheary against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday (12 PM ET, NBC).

This will be Sprong’s first game with the Capitals, who acquired him in a trade with the Anaheim Ducks that sent defenseman Christian Djoos to Southern California on February 24.

The 23-year-old was traded to the Ducks by the Penguins in exchange for defenseman Marcus Pettersson on December 3, 2018. The Penguins selected Sprong 46th overall at the 2015 NHL Draft.

In 97 career NHL games with the Ducks and Penguins, Sprong has recorded 19 goals, 30 points, and a -17 rating. After getting traded to the Ducks in the 2018-19 season, Sprong finished the year with 14 goals and 19 points in 47 games with the team.

Sprong is expected to play on center Lars Eller’s right-wing.

Sheary, 28, was signed by the Capitals on December 23. In 325 career games with the Penguins and Buffalo Sabres, the 28-year-old has posted 72 goals, 150 points, and a +2 rating. He won two Stanley Cups with the Penguins in 2016 and 2017.

After getting dealt by the Penguins to the Sabres in June 2018, the Penguins re-acquired him on February 24 but did not re-sign him before he hit unrestricted free agency.

In 327 career NHL games with the Penguins, Sabres, and Capitals, Sheary has recorded 72 goals, 151 points, and a +2 rating. He earned his first point as a Capital in Thursday’s 6-4 win over the Sabres.

Goaltender Ilya Samsonov, who made 22 saves on 26 shots in Thursday’s game, will start against the Penguins. Samsonov stopped 29 of 33 shots in his lone career start against the Penguins, a 4-3 loss at Capital One Arena on February 2.

On the Penguins’ side, goaltender Casey DeSmith, who allowed one goal in 13 shots after replacing starter Tristan Jarry in Friday’s 5-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, will start on Sunday. The 29-year-old stopped 20 of 22 shots in his lone career start against the Capitals, a 2-1 loss at Capital One Arena on November 7, 2018.

Forward Kasperi Kapanen skated with the Penguins for the first time this morning after getting acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs on August 25 but will not play on Sunday. He had immigration issues so he was unable to participate in training camp or play vs. the Flyers.

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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