Photo: Matt Freed/ Getty Images
The Washington Capitals announced prior to the second period of Tuesday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena that goaltender Vitek Vanecek will not return after leaving 6:43 into the first with an upper-body injury.
He gave up a goal on five shots before exiting.
The 26-year-old’s appearance on Tuesday marked his sixth start in past eight games (.929 save percentage, 2.00 goals-against average over span) and he appeared to take over the Capitals’ net.
Penguins right winger Kasperi Kapanen collides with Capitals goaltender Vitek Vanecek in the first period Tuesday at PPG Paints Arena. pic.twitter.com/knjHba7sGf
— Matt Freed (@mattfreedpghpg) February 2, 2022
Vanecek entered the game with a 10-6-5 record, .916 save percentage (tied for 19th in NHL), 2.36 goals-against average (13th), and two shutouts this season.
Hunter Shepard, who was on the taxi squad, replaced Ilya Samsonov on the bench after he entered the game.
The Capitals host the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday, when Samsonov appeared to be the likely starter.
Shepard, 26, has posted a record of 3-1-0 with a 1.75 goals-against average, a .923 save percentage and one shutout in four games with Hershey this season. Additionally, the 6’0”, 215-pound goaltender has appeared in nine games for the South Carolina Stingrays in the ECHL, posting a record of 3-4-2 record with a 3.43 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage.
By Harrison Brown