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Capitals vs. Islanders Recap: Samsonov’s a Winner

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In his first career NHL start Ilya Samsonov led the Capitals to a 2 to 1 road victory over the New York Islanders

Washington Capitals v New York Islanders Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Two nights after dispatching the St. Louis Blues in overtime on opening night Washington welcomed Ilya Samsonov to NHL ice against the Islanders. By the time sixty minutes elapsed the Capitals captured two points and their rookie netminder recorded his first victory in his first NHL game.

Here’s Friday night’s Plus/Minus:

Plus: Samsonov was excellent in his NHL debut and earned himself his first win. The newbie was great.

Minus: It could not be anything other than Samsonov’s first goal against.

This...

Eight more notes on the game.

  1. Samsonov’s first note worthy play came early in the game with the Islanders controlling the puck. Brock Nelson’s quick shot above the crease was calmly stopped by a well positioned (and very large) Samsonov.
  2. Ten minutes in Jakub Vrana picked up exactly where he left off Wednesday night by snapping the puck past Semyon Varlamov’s left side to put the Capitals ahead early. On a two against one alongside Martin Fehervary, Vrana stared down the nearside post and hit his mark.
  3. But just two minutes later Samsonov was beaten by Radko Gudas’ skate (after a Devon Toews’ shot). A quartet (!) of bad bounces off of Washington defenders led to the puck sliding past Samsonov’s left leg and into the net.
  4. The first power play of the evening belonged to New York and both goaltenders had to be excellent. Samsonov turned away several Islanders opportunities and Varlamov was called upon to deny Chandler Stephenson on a shorthanded breakaway.
  5. Late in the middle frame T.J. Oshie potted his first of the season on a Washington power play. Oshie put two wonderful backhand touches on the puck in the slot, including a slap that propelled the puck up and over a surprised Varlamov.
  6. The third period wasn’t controlled by either club but when the Islanders got their chances Samsonov turned them all aside.
  7. New York would apply late pressure with their goaltender but were futile with their attempts to beat Washington’s Russian rookie, who was mobbed by his teammates at the final horn.
  8. Samsonov registered 25 saves (.962 S%).