Despite Recent Stretch of Team Struggles, Vitek Vanecek Standing Strong in Net

Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images

While much of the buzz around the Washington Capitals’ eventual 5-0 shutout victory over the Dallas Stars centered on their former starting goaltender Braden Holtby facing his longtime club for the first time, and perhaps overshadowed in the aftermath of the dominating performance by Washington’s offense and energized power play, was the strong play by their starting netminder for the night, Vitek Vanecek.

While the 5-0 victory on Friday evening might indicate otherwise, the Capitals’ performance over their last 12 games tells a different story. With players out of the lineup due to injury and COVID-19 protocol, the team’s lineup has been somewhat unstable, however the performance on the ice from game-to-game has varied to the tune of a 4-6-2 record, allowing 37 Goals Against, while scoring 29 goals themselves, and a power play that had struggled mightily until going 2-2 against Dallas.

Vanecek, while certainly having some moments during that stretch, has played extremely strong, playing in seven games while going 4-2-0 and boasting a Save Percentage of .929, and recording two shutouts, including his 29-save performance against the Stars.

Over his previous four games, Vanecek’s advanced statistics show just how strong his play has been despite the overall team’s struggle to find a consistent groove.

During the tilt against Dallas, Vanecek stopped all seven High-Danger chances presented by the Stars’ offense, continuing his strong play when it comes to facing shots in that situation on the season.

On the season, Vanecek has played in 23 games (starting 22 of them), going 10-6-5, with a Goals-Against Average of 2.35 and Save Percentage of .916 and two shutouts. By comparison, fellow netminder Ilya Samsonov has played in 22 games (starting 20), and gone 13-5-3, with a Goals-Against Average of 2.79, a Save Percentage of .903, and three shutouts.

However, Vanecek also holds an advantage in Quality Start Percentage (.455 to Samsonov’s .350) and in that 12-game stretch mentioned earlier, Samsonov has gone 0-3-1 in four Games Played, with an .876 Save Percentage and allowing 14 goals. OVer his past six games, Vanecek has been the definition of lights-out between the pipes.

While the Capitals’ strong showing in the Lone Star state offers some promise for the overall team performance, Vanecek’s play will no doubt continue to bolster the team’s chances each night he takes the crease.

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. His favorite player became former Capital Nate Schmidt after he met Schmidt in a Hershey hotel while in Hershey PA to see the Bears play, shortly after Schmidt was injured during a conditioning stint. Michael is also a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Orioles, and enjoys photography, watching WildEarth TV's SafariLive live safaris, and watching animals in his spare time. (Photo by Adam Vingan in 2014 at the Capitals Development Camp).
This entry was posted in Data and Analytics, Goaltending, News, NHL, Players, Washington Capitals and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Despite Recent Stretch of Team Struggles, Vitek Vanecek Standing Strong in Net

  1. Anonymous says:

    Playoffs start today no question Vitek is your starter.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Lets begin the debate – keep Sammy and trade VV for Fleury for the playoffs? I would want more than Fleury for VV as the Hawks would save a $$… I would go for VV and Hags for Fleury plus a D… not sure the money works out
    I have said many times that the Caps have an excellent record of drafting G so get 1 every year assuming they think he can place

  3. Anonymous says:

    VV is a UFA and Fleury would start…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.