Ilya Samsonov Gets The Start In Goal, Conor Sheary Out Against Pittsburgh

Photo: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

With a 3:00 PM start set for the Capitals-Penguins tilt Saturday afternoon, neither team held a morning skate Saturday morning. Washington Capitals bench boss Peter Laviolette met with the media at 12:45PM where he announced Ilya Samsonov will get the start in goal against Pittsburgh.

Conor Sheary will not play due to a non-COVID illness. Garnet Hathaway, who missed the last game against the Lightning, is expected to return to the lineup today.

It is expected that Vitek Vanecek will get the start against the Bruins on Sunday at Capital One Arena.

The Penguins are also dealing with bug going through the locker room. As a result, several players are a game time decisions, including Sidney Crosby. Tristan Jarry will get the start in goal for the Penguins.

The Dirty Birds

The Washington Capitals face the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday for the fourth and final time this season. The Capitals are 2-1-0 against the Penguins this year and have outscored them 12-8. Washington has earned points in eight of their last 11 games against Pittsburgh (4-3-4).

Among active players, Alex Ovechkin’s 36 goals against the Penguins rank first and are tied for 15th in NHL history. Additionally, no active player with at least 25 games played against Pittsburgh has a higher points per game rate than Nicklas Backstrom (1.09).


Capitals goaltender Ilya Samsonov stopped 25 of 28 shots against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday to record his 49th career win (49-19-7). Samsonov is currently one win away from becoming the 10th goaltender in franchise history to record 50 wins.

Should he win his next game, he will reach the 50-goal mark in 83 games played, the fewest games required of any NHL goaltender in the last three seasons. In addition, Samsonov is 12-4-2 on the road this season and ranks tied for 10th in the in NHL in road wins despite ranking 20th in games played.

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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3 Responses to Ilya Samsonov Gets The Start In Goal, Conor Sheary Out Against Pittsburgh

  1. Diane Doyle says:

    Get well soon, Sheary. Although if he has what Hathaway has, it should be relatively short lived but not necessarily back for tomorrow.

  2. Jon Sorensen says:

    Let’s hope the illness bug stops here.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Sammy is killing us!

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