Vanecek’s injury leaves Capitals uncertain about goalkeeper after first game win
WASHINGTON – The Washington Capitals face an uncertain goaltending situation in Game 2 of their Stanley Cup first-round series against the Boston Bruins.
Craig anderson came off the bench to replace an injured Vitek Vanecek and made 21 stops in one 3-2 win in overtime against the Bruins in Game 1 of the best-of-7 series at Capital One Arena on Saturday.
It was not immediately clear whether Vanecek would be available for Game 2 here on Monday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS, NBCSWA, NESN).
âWe’re just getting off the ice here, so we’re going to come in tomorrow and we’ll assess everything and sort it out,â Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said. “And then probably not give you anything.”
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Laviolette did not provide an update on the severity of the lower body injury Vanecek suffered from not stopping Jake DeBruskgoal that tied the game 1-1 with 6:50 left in the first half.
The 25-year-old rookie was making his Stanley Cup playoff debut after leading the NHL rookies to wins (21-10-4) with a 2.69 goals-against average, save percentage of , 908 and two shutouts in the regular season.
Vanecek’s injury pushed Anderson into his first NHL playoff game since May 25, 2017 for the Ottawa Senators in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, a 3-2 double overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Anderson, who turns 40 on May 21, has spent most of this season on the Washington taxi team and has appeared in four games, including two starts.
Anderson allowed a goal on 22 shots, holding the Capitals in the tight control game until Nic dowd scored the winning goal 4:41 in overtime.
“At this time of year it doesn’t matter what happened,” Washington captain said Alex ovechkin mentionned. “Someone is getting hurt, someone is not having a good game, we have to find a way. I think everyone understands that. It’s time for us to take a step.”
Anderson was the replacement because Ilya Samsonov was not available after being removed from the NHL COVID-19 program on Saturday afternoon. Samsonov hasn’t played since May 1, when he made 23 saves in a 3-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Samsonov and center Evgeny Kuznetsov were struck out on disciplinary grounds for a 6-3 win over the New York Rangers on May 3 and entered COVID-19 protocol the next day.
Samsonov, along with Kuznetsov, was on the ice for optional practice on Sunday, but it’s unclear how long he will take before he is ready to play. He was 13-4-1 with a 2.69 GAA, .902 save percentage and two shutouts this season.
That leaves Anderson as the most likely candidate to start Game 2. He went 2-1-0 with a GAA of 2.13 and a save percentage of .915 in the regular season. He made 28 saves in a 2-1 overtime win over the Philadelphia Flyers on May 8, his first start since February 22.
âWell you could tell I’m well rested from not playing so much,â Anderson said jokingly. âI think that’s one of those things to come in the year, I knew the situation, I knew the role I was asked to play. I think the opportunity presents itself, you get the best out of it. taken advantage of your opportunity. “
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With Samsonov unavailable, Pheonix Copley, who moved between the Washington Taxi Team and the American Hockey League‘s Hershey (10-4-1, 2.66 GAA, .896 save percentage, two shutouts) this season, was the substitute emergency after Vanecek’s injury. Copley hasn’t played in the NHL since 2018-19, when he appeared in 27 games (24 starts).
The Capitals also have Zach Fucale, who was 9-2-0 with Hershey this season, led the AHL with a GAA of 1.80 and was second in the league with a .932 save percentage.
âOur goalie depth is really good,â said Laviolette. âYou would like to be healthy, you would like everyone to be available, but that’s what we have. But I can tell you that there is a lot of confidence in Anderson. Pheonix Copley has had a great year. Fucale’s numbers are among the best in the AHL. Hopefully Vanecek is on the mend and Samsonov gets back into the mix.
“So we always feel like we have good depth and we always feel like we have good goalkeepers.”