Capitals top goaltending prospect, Ilya Samsonov, has given up a lot of goals in his first two starts for Russia at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship. Samsonov surrendered 5 goals against Canada on Monday and 3 goals against the United States on Thursday, giving the 19-year-old goaltender a 4.01 goals against average.
Yet, he’s been stunning in net. Samsonov has seen the second most shots of any WJC goaltender (74) and has the fifth-best (all strengths) save percentage at .892%. Samsonov’s numbers are poor because Russia’s defense has been shredded by better teams at even strength and dominated on the penalty kill, where Samsonov has given up 4 of his 8 goals.
Against the United States, Samsonov authored his most fantastic save of the tournament, stopping a gimme two-on-one goal with some weird, Dominik Hasek-esque flopping.
Caps prospect Ilya Samsonov has been dominating the KHL this season.
The 19-year-old goaltender is undefeated, tallying wins in 9 of his first 15 appearances. The 2015 first-found pick also has a .937 save percentage and a 1.97 goals against average.
Monday night, Samsonov posted his first shutout of the season against Dynamo Moscow, making 35 saves. His most difficult stop came with 11 seconds remaining in the game.
Photo: Geoff Burke
We’ve said this before, but Braden Holtby is really good (even when he’s not actually playing in an actual hockey game). Against the Islanders on Thursday night, Holtby was tremendous, stopping 24 of 26 shots. His best save came in the third period on John Tavares, but we didn’t notice until NBCSN showed a slo-mo replay.
Just another day at the office.
And apparently I’m not done writing about Braden Holtby yet today (1, 2). During the team’s morning skate, the Caps had a drill where they shot from point blank on the Holtbeast. Just like against Evander Kane on Monday, Holtby was very much up to the task, making two sensational glove saves. Like listen to the oooohhhhhh’ing of the crowd at Kettler.
The league’s most winningest goalie on the league’s best team, Braden Holtby, recorded a shutout on Monday night against the Buffalo Sabres. It was not easy. Holtby survived two almost-goals, both of which were washed out.
And then, late in the third period with his perfect game on the line, Holtby made a glove save that we thought could only happen inside the Matrix.
In the first period, the Washington Capitals defense was about as holey as my fifth grade gym socks, which I should really throw out. No worries though; Braden Holtby was on the case.
The Holtbeast made his slickest save of the season, robbing future hall-of-famer Jaromir Jagr from point-blank right at the end of the period.
Michal Neuvirth has started the last three Caps games, inserting himself back into the Capitals goalie picture after not playing for a month and requesting a trade on December 29th. In the last week, Neuvirth has made big save after big save, keeping a defensively inept Caps team capably backstopped in all three starts. The team went 1-1-1 in those games.
Early in the third period of Tuesday’s game against the Islanders, Neuvirth showed off some fantastic lateral movement, robbing Frans Nielsen on a clear one-timer.
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