Vitek Vanecek Records 4th Shutout Of The Season, Makes Latest Case For Starters’ Role

Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images

Friday night’s tilt against the Coyotes in Arizona was the fifth and final game of the Washington Capitals’ season-long, five-game road trip. The team turned in a quality workmanlike effort for the 2-0 victory to go 3-1-1 on the two-country, three-state trip.

While tested just 19 times, Capitals’ netminder Vitek Vanecek was excellent, stopping all shots he faced for his fourth shutout and 20th win of the season.

“Actually, this game is really hard because there weren’t too many shots, and in the second period, the guys were buzzing all the time in the offensive zone, so it was really hard for me. In the third period, I got some shots that got me back (in it),” said Vanecek following the game.

“It’s not exactly the easiest game to play in, end of a road trip,” defenseman Justin Schultz said. “[Vanecek] made some big saves for us there in the end. We got the two points, and this time of year that’s pretty much all that matters.“

“You’re in a rhythm, and then all of a sudden there’s not much going on and you’ve got to be incredible,” Laviolette said. “He did a really good job at that tonight. When he needed to be really good, he was really good.”

Vanecek improved his record to 20-11-0-5 with a 2.60 goals against average and a .910 save percentage on the season.

Washington is now 9-1-2 in their last 12 road games and have a 25-8-6 road record this season. They lead the NHL in road points (56) and road points percentage (.718).

The victory moved the Capitals back into a tie for third place in the Metropolitan Division with the Pittsburgh Penguins with just four games remaining in the regular season.

The team will have the day off to travel home on Saturday before they host the Toronto Maple Leafs at Capital One Arena on Sunday. Puck drop is set for 7:00 PM.

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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6 Responses to Vitek Vanecek Records 4th Shutout Of The Season, Makes Latest Case For Starters’ Role

  1. Anonymous says:

    Yea he made his case against one of the two worst teams in the NHL. 😆

  2. steven says:

    At times both goalies look like they have earned the starting role and then there are many games where they look like they were just called up from Hershey. It seems that both goalies have a problem holding onto their sticks and give up bad rebounds. Neither is truly a “young” goalie as they are 25 and 26. VV makes just over the minimum while samsonov makes $2 mil and both are RFA after this season. Can one ot the other become a #1 goalie…..Yes. Can one or the other flop…..Yes. However Samsonovs’ body of work this year is not worth a raise as his save % is under 90%. You expect more from a #1 pick. VV was a very early round 2 pick. Both goalies have made some great saves this season and both have let in some very bad goals. Outside of salary and save % I dont see much difference in either goalie. One think I cannot find is goals scored by the caps in the games each goalie played. Is one goalie getting more goal suport than the other?

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      I think you’re essentially spot on, Steven. It’s going to be very interesting to see what happens this summer. They couldn’t possibly go into next season status quo? Could they? I said that last off-season.

      • steven says:

        Sad but due to the many high contracts that they havethey will unless they decide to trade Eller, Carlson, Orlov or Backstrom retires. First I dont see Hagelin coming back so that is $2.75 in the pot, then Schukltz add $4 mil more (6.75) then Kempny adds $2.5 mil (now $9.25 mil), Johamsson
        and Larsson combined only add $1.5 (now up to $10.75) and then they have to pay either 1 or both of the goalies, decide if they are keeping or letting Irwin walk and then hopefully pay Fejervary before he gets to the end of his RFA year. The $10.75 is not a lot to have to pay 2 goalies and 2 D-men and 2 forwards unless you are going to plug in rookies. Then next year if they keep Orlov they have him as a UFA and Jensen adn TVR on the D and Sherry, Hathaway and Eller and after the 23/24 season you ahve Mantha and Wilson. So maybe the bestbet is to let the rookies fill in and worry about if and what you are going to pay mantha at age 29 and Wilson at age 31. Also in you look at the minors there are a lot of guys who are UFA this year and next. So looking at it logically and from a standpoint that a rebuild is on the way; why not start now when there is decent talent in Hershey. Maybe not all of them make it but at least see what you have before letting them walk for nothing. Althugh the team ahs played welllately; honestly it is not a true Cup contender anymore. I understand that they hope it is but toronto, Boston, Florida, Tampa and several teams out west are just better. While they still have some veteran players who can help the younger players fit in and help them maybe ti is better to plan on having rookies fill the vacant slots rather than splurge on an expensive vet just to hope that you get to the 2nd round of the playoffs. The Caps have $54mil tied up in 7 players. So they have to fill out a roster of a min of 13 moe players with basically $30 mil. Not a lot of money there to obtain a quality vet so like I said before play the kids and save the money for 2-4 years down the road when the caps obtain a top 5 pick and another franchise player.

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