Washington Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette announced in his pre-game media availability on Sunday that Ilya Samsonov will start in goal for the Capitals Sunday afternoon against the New Jersey Devils.
The Capitals announced on Saturday that they had re-assigned Samsonov from the Hershey Bears to the Capitals taxi squad, the announced Sunday morning that Samsonov was re-assigned from the taxi squad to the Capitals roster.
Coach Laviolette says Ilya Samsonov will start this afternoon against the New Jersey Devils. #ALLCAPS
— NoVa Caps (@NoVa_Caps) February 28, 2021
“It’s been a bit of a longer road (for Samsonov) than probably anyone ever expected,” Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said. “We made sure that with him coming back that we wanted to put him in a position where he was feeling good on the ice and that he had some [American Hockey League] games and to get some quality practices under his belt and we’re faced with a situation today where he gets an opportunity. Vitek [Vanecek] has done a great job for us but it’s an opportunity for [Samsonov] as well.”
While in Hershey Samsonov made two starts, one against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on February 24 and one against the Binghamton Devils on February 26. He stopped 40 of 47 shots for a .851 game save percentage in the two games.
Samsonov has played in just two games for the Capitals so far in the 2020-21 NHL season, before he was 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 in his two appearances. Samsonov returned from the COVID-related absences list on February 8th.
Samsonov was previously sent to Hershey on February 14. He went 1-0-1-0, stopping 46 of 52 shots for a 2.95 GAA and a .885 save percentage in the two games played. The Capitals recalled Samsonov from Hershey on February 21.