Vitek Vanecek Will Start In Goal Tonight, Ilya Samsonov Out Day-To-Day With Upper Body Injury: Notes From Morning Skate

The Washington Capitals are back in action tonight as they host the Buffalo Sabres at Capital One Arena. This is the final meeting between the two teams this season, with the Capitals holding a 6-0-1 record against the Sabres. Puck drop is set for 7:00 PM.

Here’s the latest news and notes from gameday morning skate at MedStar Capitals Iceplex:


Ilya Samsonov did not participate in morning skate today. He has an upper body injury and is listed as “day-to-day”.

Vitek Vanecek will start tonight against Buffalo. Craig Anderson will be the back-up.



Peter Laviolette

Conor Sheary


  • Nicklas Backstrom, Justin Schultz and T.J. Oshie each lead the Capitals with eight points (Backstrom: 5g, 3a; Schultz and Oshie: 2g, 6a) in the season series. Vitek Vanecek is 5-0-1 against Buffalo this season with one shutout, a 1.79 goals against average and a .941 save percentage.
  • In the seven prior meetings this season, Washington has outscored Buffalo 27-15, their second-largest goal differential against an opponent this season (New Jersey: +13). The Capitals are 16-3-2 in their last 20 games against the Sabres, dating back to Dec. 28, 2015, and have won four straight games at Buffalo.


  • Nicklas Backstrom is scheduled to play in his 1,000th career game tonight against the Buffalo Sabres at Capital One Arena.
  • Backstrom will become the second player in franchise history to play 1,000 games with the Capitals, joining teammate and captain Alex Ovechkin.
  • Backstrom will become the second active player to reach the 1,000-game mark with at least 700 career assists (Sidney Crosby). Only 23 players in NHL history had at least 700 assists at the 1,000-game mark in their career. Of these 23 players, 21 are members of the Hockey Hall of Fame, while two are not yet eligible (Crosby and Jaromir Jagr).
  • Additionally, Backstrom will be the 69th player in NHL history and the 14th active player to play 1,000 career games with one team, and the first Capital to reach the 1,000-game mark in a Capitals sweater since Brooks Orpik on Jan. 14, 2019, against the St. Louis Blues.
  • The Capitals hold a record of 592-296-111 with Backstrom in the lineup since his NHL debut on Oct. 5, 2007. He has skated with 165 different teammates, played in 39 different venues and has played in front of 17,104,313 fans in his career.
  • Backstrom leads the Capitals with 44 points (14g, 30a) in 43 games this season and last game (Apr. 13 vs. Philadelphia) joined Patrick Kane and Anze Kopitar as the only players to record at least 30 assists in each of the last 14 seasons. Backstrom’s 1.02 points per game rate this season is his highest since 2016-17 (1.05 points per game) and the fifth-highest rate of his career.
  • On March 5, 2021, against the Boston Bruins, Backstrom became the second fastest active player (Crosby: 856 games) and the 23rd fastest player in NHL history to reach the 700-assist mark in his 979th career game.

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 passion for the Caps has grown over the decades, which has included time as a season ticket holder, social media and community organizer, and most recently led to the founding of NoVa Caps in 2014. Jon earned a Bachelor's of Science in Civil Engineering at Old Dominion University, and is a Systems Engineer during intermissions, which has been instrumental in supporting his Capitals habit.
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1 Response to Vitek Vanecek Will Start In Goal Tonight, Ilya Samsonov Out Day-To-Day With Upper Body Injury: Notes From Morning Skate

  1. Anonymous says:

    Samsonov is a magnet for injuries. He seems soft, too.

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