New Jersey’s Vanecek To Back Up Game 3 At Madison Square Garden

Photo: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

After losing the first two games of their first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series against the New York Rangers, the New Jersey Devils will sit goaltender Vitek Vanecek and start Akira Schmid in Game 3 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday (8 PM ET, ABC, ESPN+) with their season on the line.

Vanecek, 26, allowed nine goals on 52 shots (.827 save percentage) in the first two games of the series, where New York beat New Jersey by a score of 5-1 each time.

Schmid, 22, went 9-5-2 with a .922 save percentage, 2.13 goals-against average, and a shutout in 18 regular-season games. He will make his postseason debut on Saturday.

New Jersey acquired Vanecek from the Washington Capitals on July 8.

Vanecek entered last postseason as Washington’s starter but coughed it up after posting an .863 save percentage and a 4.21 goals-against average in the first five periods of the team’s first-round series against the Florida Panthers before Ilya Samsonov took the job again and never looked back. Those would be Vanecek’s final moments on the ice as a Capital.

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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12 Responses to New Jersey’s Vanecek To Back Up Game 3 At Madison Square Garden

  1. GRin430 says:

    Shocked? Nope. Both Vanecek and Samsonov have showed this post-season why the Caps gave up on them.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      It’s a little surprising to me, just because of the way they performed during the regular season. But in the end, no, not shocked.

      • GRin430 says:

        The Devils played much better D in front of Vanecek during the season than they’ve showed so far in the post-season. He can generally stop the stuff he’s supposed to stop, since he’s a pretty good technician. And during the regular season, that’s mostly what he saw. But he doesn’t have the overall talent (size, quickness) needed to bail out a team that’s getting whupped, and the Devils are getting whupped.

        Samsonov does have the size and quickness, he still just has too many holes that opponents can exploit, particularly if they can get him to move — or rather over-move — and open up. He also still seems to lose focus for parts of games. He played much better in game 2, but which Sammy will show up in any given game? One of the great mysteries in life…

        I’ve always said that if you could combine Vitek’s technique with Sammy’s tool-set, you’d have… Vasilevskiy… more or less. Unfortunately the Caps goalie coaches were not mad scientists and could not figure out a way to transform their two young, flawed goalies into one great one!

    • novafyre says:

      Sammy did not fall part after game 1. When he was with the Caps, he would have. He came back and had a very strong game 2. He may not yet be what the Caps hoped for when they drafted him, but he has matured a lot in Toronto. He’s older, wiser, but I also credit their coaching.

      • GRin430 says:

        I agree he has matured mentally. But he still has holes that can be exploited, and his inconsistency is real trouble in a 7-game series, particularly in the east, where the competition is so good. The Leafs can’t afford their goalie to give away any goals, just like the Caps couldn’t, but they are highly likely to see more softies from Samsonov before the end of this series.

  2. Anonymous says:

    NJD team in front of VV has been manhandled by NYR

  3. James says:

    I do notice, however, that in an NHL peppered with Washington-developed goalies on play-off teams, this year’s Capitals featured no Cap-drafted goalies for the first time in I don’t know how long. And, of course, we missed the play-offs for the first time in I don’t know how long.

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