Ilya Samsonov Will Start Against Panthers Tonight: News From Morning Skate In Sunrise

The Washington Capitals departed for the Sunshine State immediately following their 4-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh on Sunday. Following a day off in Florida  on Monday the team was back to work Tuesday morning for their gameday morning skate in advance of their tilt with the Panthers on Tuesday night.

Ilya Samsonov was the first goaltender off the ice this morning, indicating it’s likely he will get the start tonight against the Panthers. Coach Laviolette confirmed after morning skate he would indeed get the start. This will be Samsonov’s 4th consecutive start. He is 9-0-0-1 with a 2.27 GAA and a .918 save percentage so far this season.

Killing It

On Sunday against the Carolina Hurricanes, Washington’s penalty kill went three-for-three, their third-straight game without allowing a power play goal. Over their last 12 games, which dates back to Nov. 6, the Capitals’ 96.4 penalty kill percentage ranks first in the NHL (one power play goal against on 28 opponent power play opportunities).

In that same span, Washington has scored two shorthanded goals and has a positive goal differential while shorthanded. Washington’s four shorthanded goals this season are tied with the Colorado Avalanche for the most in the NHL and their 142 penalty minutes is tied with the Los Angeles Kings for the lowest total in the League.


Ilya Samsonov’s excellent play of late has moved him up the charts in the Metropolitan Division. For the first time this season, Samsonov currently has a better save percentage than Vitek Vanecek in all situations.

Vitek Vanecek has a better save percentage at even-strength.

Down On the Farm

Reports of additional COVID outbreaks continue in the AHL. The Bears cancelled their game this past Sunday and Wednesday due to COVID.

The Boston Bruins announced on Tuesday that coach Bruce Cassidy is in COVID protocol, the Edmonton Oilers announced Cody Ceci was placed in COVID protocol and the New York Rangers announced that Greg McKegg (COVID-19 protocol related absence) will not skate today.

It’s probably safe to say the upcoming Olympics in China could be in jeopardy. The NHL and NHLPA have the right to back out prior to the planned departure immediately following the all-star game..

Osh Babe

Forward T.J. Oshie did not make the trip to Carolina or Florida, but did get to attend the Washington Football Team’s victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night.

The Capitals close out their two-game road trip tonight against the Florida Panthers at FLA Live Arena. Puck drop is set for just after 7:00 PM.

Braden Holtby, who already required the third-fewest games in NHL history to record his 200th career win, can become the 10th active goaltender to appear in 500 career contests should he play Tuesday. In the process, he can also eclipse an NHL legend if he collects victory No. 293.

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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