Photo: Steve Ryan/Getty Images
Head coach Peter Laviolette confirmed that goaltender Ilya Samsonov will start in the Washington Capitals‘ game against the New York Islanders on Saturday (7 PM ET, NBC Sports Washington) after the team’s morning skate at Nassau Coliseum/NYCB Live.
The 25-year-old is 12-3-1 with a .904 save percentage, a 2.65 goals-against average, and two shutouts this season after making 26 saves in a 1-0 shootout win over the Islanders in the three-game series opener between the two teams on Thursday.
The Capitals enter Saturday’s game one point ahead of the Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins for first place in the East Division with all teams down to just nine games left this season. The Penguins host the New Jersey Devils on Saturday afternoon (12:30 PM ET, NHL Network nationally).
The Capitals and Islanders are scheduled to face off for the final time this season on Tuesday night at Capital One Arena. After that, the Capitals will host the Penguins for two consecutive games on Friday and Saturday.
In three games against the Islanders this season, Samsonov is 2-1-0 with a .903 save percentage and a 2.50 goals-against average.
Captain Alex Ovechkin did not participate in the Capitals’ morning skate but Laviolette did not rule him out against the Islanders. The 35-year-old did not play late in Thursday’s win after suffering a lower-body injury. Forward Daniel Sprong took his place on the top line after being scratched on Thursday.
Samsonov will get the net again after a brilliant performance in Thursday’s 1-0 SO win vs. the NYI. “It’s a great opportunity for them in the last 10 games to make a case; we got to name a starter,” Laviolette said of the competition between Samsonov and Vanecek. #Caps
— Tarik El-Bashir (@Tarik_ElBashir) April 24, 2021
By Harrison Brown