Photograph: Patrick Smith/NHL by way of Getty Photos
It’s troublesome to search out many flaws within the Capitals 5-1 steamrolling of the New York Rangers on Wednesday night time. Franchise captain Alex Ovechkin notched two extra tallies to maneuver previous Marcel Dionne for fifth place on the all instances objectives checklist and media-darling Hendrix Lapierre recorded his first profession NHL aim. Not too shabby for a gap night time.
However considerably misplaced within the hoopla on Wednesday night time was the trouble turned in by netminder Vitek Vanecek. He stopped 23 of 24 photographs, 15 of 15 at even power, for a .958 recreation save proportion.
Vanecek’s begin was considerably of a shock to many Capitals followers, as most thought Ilya Samsonov would get the nod on opening night time. Coach Laviolette stated after Friday’s morning skate that he thought Vanecek was the higher netminder throughout coaching camp.
“Simply thought his camp, for me, I believed it was actually good. Separated himself just a little bit. For that, he will get the chance to begin,” stated Laviolette.
Following Wednesday night time’s recreation Vanecek wouldn’t acknowledge that he felt he had a greater camp than Samsonov, however stated he labored laborious.
”I used to be working laborious within the camp, we was pushing one another. I’m blissful he gave me the primary begin.”
It’s nonetheless unknown who will get the beginning in aim on Saturday when the Capitals host the Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning. Laviolette did a little bit of rotating final season when each netminders have been wholesome and obtainable on the similar time. Nonetheless, most would agree that’s not the best path for long-term success and that there must be a primary.
The query stays how Ilya Samsonov will cope with the quasi-demotion. Will he use this as motivation? It’s possible he will get the beginning Saturday towards the Lightning or Tuesday towards the high-flying Colorado Avalanche. A tall order to make a press release, however the ball is in his courtroom.
By Jon Sorensen