After a day off on Wednesday, the Capitals returned to MedStar Capitals Iceplex Thursday morning for final preparations ahead of tonight’s tilt with the Buffalo Sabres. Puck drop is set for just after 7:00 p.m. Here’s the latest from MedStar:
Capitals lines in AM skate:
— Samantha Pell (@SamanthaJPell) February 18, 2021’
Power Play Units:
PP1: Ovechkin, Carlson, Vrana, Oshie, Backstrom
PP2: Kuznetsov, Schultz, Orlov, Eller, Wilson
Vitek Vanecek will make his 12th consecutive start tonight against the Sabres. Ilya Samsonov remains in Hershey following last night’s 2-1 win for the Bears. He will practice with the Bears today and then return to Washington.
Laviolette: Vanecek will start tonight.
— NoVa Caps (@NoVa_Caps) February 18, 2021
Laviolette would not commit to when Samsonov would make his next start for the Capitals. The Capitals have a back-to-back set with the Rangers and Devils this weekend at Capital One Arena.
While in Hershey, Samsonov played in two games going 1-0-1-0. He stopped 46 of 52 shots for a 2.95 GAA and a .885 save percentage.
Samsonov has played in two games for the Capitals so far in the 2020-21 NHL season, before being added to the NHL’s COVID-related absences list in January 20. He was 1-0-0-1 with a 3.36 GAA and a .868 save percentage. Samsonov returned from the COVID-related absences list on February 8th, and was re-assigned to Hershey on February 14.
- This year, Nicklas Backstrom leads the Capitals with six points (3g, 3a) against Buffalo, while Jakub Vrana and T.J. Oshie each have five points (Vrana: 3g, 2a; Oshie: 2g, 3a).
- On Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the line of Conor Sheary, Lars Eller and Richard Panik skated together for 9:37 at five-on-five, scoring two goals, outshooting their opponents 10-0, while recording 13 shot attempts and allowing one (92.86 shot attempt percentage).
- Eller, who scored his second goal of the season, is now one point shy of his 300th career point (133g, 165a) to become the third Danish-born player in NHL history to reach the 300-point mark.
- Panik recorded two assists in the game, marking his 100th and 101st career assist. The effort marked Panik’s 32nd career multi-point game and his fourth as a Capital. Sheary scored his third goal in his 11th game as a Capital. Sheary, a former Buffalo Sabre and Pittsburgh Penguin, has a combined 16 points (10g, 6a) in 20 career games against his two former teams.
By Jon Sorensen