A Solid Beginning Between the Pipes: Vitek Vanecek Continues Strong Start to the 2021-22 Season In 4-1 Victory Over New Jersey

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Entering this season, the goaltending dynamic of the Washington Capitals saw young netminders Vitek Vanecek and 2015 first-round pick Ilya Samsonov set to compete for playing time. Through the team’s first four games, Vanecek has seen the bulk of playing time, and in that period, has made the most of it.

Vanecek aided the Capitals’ 4-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night, stopping 25 of 26 Devils shots (all 23 at Even-Strength) for a .962 Save Percentage, including 15 through the first 40 minutes of play.  The first 40 minutes of play have been Vanecek’s strongest in three starts this season, per WashingtonCaps.com’s Mike Vogel, Vanecek has stopped 43 of 43 shots through the first two periods in all three of his starts in 2021-22.

Vanecek’s record improves to 2-0-1 on the season. Vanecek’s rookie season saw him go 21-10-4, with a Goals-Against Average of 2.69 and Save Percentage of .908. Additionally, he has given up just one goal at 5-on-5 play this season, according to NHL.com’s Tom Gulitti.

In his first start, the team’s home and Opening Night victory over the New York Rangers, Vanecek stopped 23-24 shots, including all 15 at Even-Strength, to boost the Caps to a 5-1 rout and a .958 Save Percentage. In the team’s 2-1 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Vanecek brushed aside 22 of 24 shots faced for a .917 Save Percentage.

Vanecek spoke on his play after the game:

While Samsonov will certainly see more ice time as the season goes on, Vanecek’s strong start has earned the trust of the Capitals’ coaching staff and will likely have an effect on how the team juggles duties in net going forward.

By Michael Fleetwood

About Michael Fleetwood

Michael Fleetwood was born into a family of diehard Capitals fans and has been watching games as long as he can remember. He was born the year the Capitals went to their first Stanley Cup Final, and is a diehard Caps fan, the owner of the very FIRST Joe Beninati jersey and since then, has met Joe himself. Michael joined the NoVa Caps team in 2015, and is most proud of the growth of the NoVa Caps community in that time. An avid photographer, Michael resides in VA.
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7 Responses to A Solid Beginning Between the Pipes: Vitek Vanecek Continues Strong Start to the 2021-22 Season In 4-1 Victory Over New Jersey

  1. Anonymous says:

    Vanecek has looked solid so far this season. He certainly has the number one role right now. Has to start Saturday against Calgary as well.

  2. novafyre says:

    Vee is playing well and deserves #1 goalie, but the Caps have been playing very well in all aspects of the game in front of him. Tonight they had more sog, higher percentage of faceoffs, generally stayed out of the sin bin, and won the turnover battle. So they have been doing all they can do help Vee out.

    Coop down in Tampa has said repeatedly, it’s not the number of goals you score, it’s how many you keep out and the entire Caps team is doing a great job of keeping them out this year. Much, much better than I expected.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Defense has definitely stepped it up in the early going. The combination is pretty solid on the backend. Plus you have the 4th line doing their typical fourth line things, the top six is producing (Kuzy and Ovy). That’s a hard combination to beat.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Team dee! Playing a 5 man cycle which is great to see. Lot faster.

  4. Pingback: Friday Caps Clips: No Sympathy For The Devils

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