Ilya Samsonov Will Start Tonight, Justin Schultz Misses Morning Skate, Vitek Vanecek Skates With Team: News From Capitals’ Morning Skate In Philadelphia

The Washington Capitals made their way to the City Of Brotherly Love Tuesday night following their 4-1 win over the Predators in Nashville. The team held an optional practice on Wednesday and held their gameday skate this morning at Wells Fargo Center In South Philly.

Vitek Vanecek returned to skating with the team Thursday morning, but will not play tonight. Justin Schultz, who left Tuesday nights game with an upper body injury, did not participate in morning skate.

Lines at morning skate:

Michal Kempny cycles in for the injured Justin Schultz on the third defensive pair and Conor Sheary and Tom Wilson flipped spots on the right side.

Ilya Samsonov will start in goal tonight.


The Capitals face the Philadelphia Flyers tonight at Wells Fargo Center for the second time this season. Washington lost the last matchup against Philadelphia, 2-1, at Capital One Arena on Nov. 6.

The Capitals won all four away games against the Flyers last season. Should the Capitals win tonight, it will mark the longest win streak on the road against the Flyers in franchise history (5). Alex Ovechkin has recorded at least a point in six of his last seven games against the Flyers (8g, 4a).

Filthy-Philly Flashback

That time Philly fans tossed bracelets on the ice. The bracelets were handed out to all fans in tribute to owner Ed Snider, who passed away that week.

Ilya Samsonov

Tonight marks Ilya Samsonov’s seventh consecutive game, which will extend his career high. Samsonov is 5-0-0 with a 2.31 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage in six career starts against the Flyers.

Samsonov is coming off a 33-save performance against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday and has a career record of 28-5-3 away from Capital One Arena. Since the start of the 2019-20 season, Samsonov’s 28 road wins rank seventh in the NHL and are the most among goaltenders with fewer than 40 road games played.

Power Play Rebound

The long-suffering Capitals power play is (finally) on the rebound, mostly in line with the return of Nicklas Backstrom. They are 8 for 44 (18.2%) since Backstrom’s return and 6 for 22 in their last seven games (27.2%).

Points Per Minute Of Ice Time

The following graph details a few data points. First is points per minute of ice time. Joe Snively currently leads the Capitals, with Alex Ovechkin second.

The Great 8

Alex Ovechkin scored twice to reach and eclipse the 30-goal mark (31g) and Ilya Samsonov stopped 33 of 34 shots as the Capitals defeated the Nashville Predators 4-1 on Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena and extended their road winning streak to four games. The Caps improved to 15-5-4 on the road this season and their .708 points percentage ranks second in the NHL.

Among players to begin a season at age 36 or older, Ovechkin tied Teemu Selanne (2006-07 with Anaheim) for the fewest games in NHL history to reach 30 goals in a single campaign (49 games). Ovechkin inched closer to climbing a set of all-time lists, recording his 156th career multi-goal game – two shy of tying Brett Hull (158) for the second most in NHL history and his 479th even strength goal, which passed Marcel Dionne for fourth place. He also boosted his career goal total to 761, just five away from matching Jaromir Jagr (766) for third place on the NHL’s all-time list.

Coach Laviolette

Head coach Peter Laviolette also reached a milestone against his former club Tuesday, claiming his 700th career win as a head coach. He became the 10th head coach in NHL history to reach the mark – the only active head coaches with more victories are Barry Trotz (894) and Lindy Ruff (772). Among the head coaches in the top-10 in wins, Laviolette’s .593 points percentage ranks fifth. Additionally, since he made his NHL coaching debut on Oct. 5, 2001, Laviolette ranks fourth in the NHL in games coached (Trotz: 1,526; Joel Quenneville: 1,399; John Tortorella: 1,336).


Following tonight’s game in Philadelphia the Capitals will have a week off before they next face the New York Rangers next Thursday.

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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4 Responses to Ilya Samsonov Will Start Tonight, Justin Schultz Misses Morning Skate, Vitek Vanecek Skates With Team: News From Capitals’ Morning Skate In Philadelphia

  1. Anonymous says:

    VV finally getting close to returning. Hopefully after the break.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Why is the team still having a week long break? Aren’t there games to be made up from Christmas time?

  3. Jon Sorensen says:

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