Ilya Samsonov, Evgeny Kuznetsov Skate Ahead of Capitals’ Optional Practice

Center Evgeny Kuznetsov and goaltender Ilya Samsonov each skated ahead of the Washington Capitals‘ optional practice on Sunday. Both players were placed on COVID-19 protocol. Kuznetsov entered it on May 4 and Samsonov did on May 7.

It was reported on Saturday that one of the two tested positive for COVID-19 while the other was on protocol due to contact tracing. Samsonov came off of protocol prior to the Capitals’ 3-2 overtime win over the Bruins in Game 1 of their 2021 Stanley Cup Playoff first-round series.

Neither has played since the Capitals’ 3-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on May 1. Both were suspended for the Capitals’ 5-3 win at the New York Rangers two nights later due to disciplinary reasons.

After Kuznetsov was suspended, word came out that the Capitals were “frustrated” with the 28-year-old and could look to get him a change of scenery once the offseason hits.

After goaltender Vitek Vanecek left the first period of Game 1 due to a lower-body injury and did not return, the Capitals were forced to turn to Craig Anderson, who made 21 saves on 22 shots in relief. If Vanecek is out for any time, Anderson, 39, will likely have to take the starting role and run with it for a few games as Samsonov has not seen the ice in two weeks.

Kuznetsov recorded nine goals, 29 points, and a +7 rating in 41 games during the regular season.

Samsonov, 25, went 13-4-1 with a .902 save percentage, a 2.69 goals-against average, and two shutouts.

Both were on COVID-19 protocol from January 19 to February 8 after Samsonov tested positive for the virus and Kuznetsov was feeling symptoms.

Game 2 between the Capitals and Bruins will be on Monday at Capital One Arena (7:30 PM ET, NBC Sports Washington locally, NBCSN nationally).

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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2 Responses to Ilya Samsonov, Evgeny Kuznetsov Skate Ahead of Capitals’ Optional Practice

  1. guest says:

    At this point I think we need coverage on Copley and Fucale, our other two options.

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