And so far, even in Monday’s 2-0 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes in Capital One Arena, the Russian has lived up to his bill as the goalkeeper of the Capitals future. Samsonov recorded his first career laundering and the first of the Capitals season.
“It is important to me,” said Samsonov. “The first. Thanks to the whole team. We played very well. Excellent [penalty kill]. Awesome job. All men are blocking shots. Great game.”
Samsonov, who managed 23 saves, has won his last eight starts and is 13-2-1 this season. While his teammates and coaches continue to sing their praises, Samsonov continues to deliver. At age 22, Samsonov became the sixth goalkeeper in franchise history to register a laundering before he turned 23 and the first since Holtby did so on March 25, 2012.
“He is playing with some confidence right now,” said captain Alex Ovechkin about Samsonov. “He has worked hard in practice, just like Holts. I think we have the two best goalkeepers in the league right now, and I think we can see when they feel comfortable, when they feel good, we feel the same.”
Ovechkin supported Samsonov by scoring twice, recording goals 685 and 686 of his career. The first goal moved Ovechkin to the exclusive possession of 11th place in the all-time list, passing Teemu Selanne. Ovechkin’s second goal, which also came in the first period, moved him to four to tie Mario Lemieux (690) for tenth place, with Steve Yzerman (692) and Mark Messier (694) also in his sights.
Ovechkin only needed 142 games to go from goal number 600 to goal number 685, matching Wayne Gretzky in the least number of games to make that jump. Ovechkin has 28 goals this season, and helped Washington (31-11-5) break his streak of two consecutive losses. The captain also counted his 109th winning goal, which tied him with Brendan Shanahan for the sixth most in the history of the NHL.
“I thought tonight was his best game in a long time,” said Capitals coach Todd Reirden. “I just think his entire line [Ovechkin, Tom Wilson and Nicklas Backstrom] It was really effective. I just thought they were very sharp tonight. They were not forcing things. They were playing the right way. They are a good line when they enter the verification. “
Ovechkin’s first count came at 11:58 of the first period, when he beat Hurricanes goalkeeper Petr Mrazek with a Wilson center pass, who was playing his 500th game. He gave the Capitals the first goal of the game only for the second time in his last 10 outings.
“Certainly, one of the parts of our game that has escaped us is to start the games. I think we started the year really well and somehow we gave some, ”said Capitals defender John Carlson. “But I think it’s very important as this season progresses and these games become increasingly strict, and tonight we had a good start and [we can] build on that in the future. “
Ovechkin’s second goal was a shot from his usual place in the power game at 17:18 of the first period. His 139 multigoal games in his career tied him with Marcel Dionne in sixth place in the history of the NHL.
“I knew tonight was an important game for us, so I thought you saw him go to a different level,” Reirden said. “For me that is Alex Ovechkin. For our team, [he] We knew we needed something extra from our team tonight, and I thought I had an outstanding game. “
While Ovechkin’s second goal, which occurred during the third opportunity of power of the Capital at night, showed progress, the male advantage unit still had problems in general. The Capitals obtained four power play opportunities in the first period, but Ovechkin’s goal was his only shot on the net at 6:17 of the power play time. Washington finished with two shots on goal in six power play opportunities, including a five-on-three opportunity at the end of the third period that it could not convert.
The only other negative aspect during the strong first period of the capitals was a brief scare for defender Michal Kempny. Kempny’s left knee seemed to hit the boards hard when he fell awkwardly late in the period, and it took time to get up. He left the ice without help and headed straight for the locker room. He returned to start the second period and took normal turns.
Despite the positive of Kempny’s return, the Capitals struggled to create any offensive in the second period, allowing the Hurricanes to control the first 16 minutes. Carolina had a 9-0 lead advantage in goal shots and had three power play opportunities in that span before Evgeny Kuznetsov got the first shot of the Capitals in the period with 3:50 remaining, ending a drought of 18: 52 without one.
The hurricanes proceeded to have their best chance of the night when defender Dougie Hamilton redirected a disc that passed to Samsonov. It was opening long before Jordan Martinook threw the disc back into the fold, where a Samsonov alert covered it with 1:47 remaining in the period.
Samsonov made seven more saves in the third period to ensure victory.
“Just fun to see him get that first bleached tonight,” said Reirden, “and really another great moment for a guy who, until the break of the stars, really had a great start in his NHL career.”