Ilya Samsonov Gets The Start In Goal Tonight, Lars Eller Remains At Home With Family In D.C., Brian Pinho Skates: Notes From Capitals’ Morning Skate

The Capitals and Flyers wrap-up their two-game set tonight in Philadelphia. This is the fourth game of their eight-game, season-series (2-1-0). Puck-drop is set for just after 7:00 PM. Here’s the latest from today’s morning skate at Wells Fargo Center:
Lars Eller was not at morning skate today. He remains back home in Washington with family. Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette did not want to comment any further, other than Eller is ok.

Center Brian Pinho skated with the team this morning. It doesn’t sound like he will play tonight, as he was skating/working out after morning skate.


Power Play Units:

Ilya Samsonov will get the start in goal tonight against the Flyers.

The following graph plots the Capitals expected goals for percentage through 26 games. [Data courtesy of Natural Stat Trick].

The following graph plots the Capitals’ CF%, HDCF%, xGF%, SCF% and SV% against the Flyers so far this season. (5v5) [Data courtesy of Natural Stat Trick].

Capitals’ Skaters: SCF%, xGF%, HDCF% and Offensive Zone Starts% at 5v5 (Min 20 min TOI) Data courtesy of Natural Stat Trick. (Click to enlarge)


The Capitals have had the second-easiest schedule to date (.523). The positive news is the first place Islanders have had the easiest schedule to date (.519). Both teams have faced the Sabres and Devils 10 times, three more times than the next closest team, the Flyers, who have faced the cellar-dwellers just seven times.

Unfortunately, this means that the Capitals and Islanders will face a much tougher schedule than the rest of the East Division, coming down the home stretch.

By comparison, the Penguins have had the toughest schedule to date (.608), and will have an easier schedule down the stretch. The Penguins have yet to play the Devils and have played the Sabres just once. That’s 15 games remaining against the bottom two teams in the division.


  • Alex Ovechkin (4g, 2a) leads the Capitals in goals and points against the Flyers, while Nicklas Backstrom (1g, 3a) has recorded four points.
  • The Capitals have won five of their last six road games against Philadelphia (5-1-0), dating back to March 6, 2019.
  • Alex Ovechkin has nine goals this season and sits three goals shy of passing Phil Esposito (717g) for the sixth-most goals in NHL history.
  • Ovechkin sits three shots shy of passing Jaromir Jagr (5,637 shots) for the second-most shots in NHL history.
  • Should Ovechkin record three shots against Philadelphia, he will have passed Jagr in 558-fewer games. Since 2005-06, Ovechkin’s 5,635 shots are 1,907 more shots than the next-closest player (Eric Staal: 3,728 shots).
  • Ray Bourque ranks first in NHL history with 6,209 shots in 1,612 games. With a 4.80 average shots per game rate, Ovechkin is on pace to pass Bourque in 120 games and reach the mark in 318 fewer games than Bourque.
  • Ovechkin’s 15 career 30-goal campaigns trail only Gartner (17) for the most in League history. Additionally, his 15 consecutive 30-goal seasons are tied with Gartner (1979-80–1993-94) and Jaromir Jagr (1991-92–2006-07) for the longest such run by an NHL player.
  • At 1,297 career points (715g, 582a), Ovechkin is three points shy of becoming the 35th player in NHL history to reach the 1,300-point mark. He is looking to become the 20th player in NHL history to reach the mark in fewer than 1,200 games played, and only Brett Hull (705g) reached the mark with at least 700 goals scored.

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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