43 - Number of save Ilya Samsonov made in relief of Vitek Vanecek in Tuesday night’s win over Pittsburgh, the most by a goalie coming off the bench and winning since... maybe ever? NHL.com appears to have records for goalie starts and saves dating back to the 1955-56 season, and since then, well, no one had made 43 saves in a game they didn’t start but did win before Samsonov. Here’s your top-ten:
What we know for sure is that Samsonov tied a franchise record for the most by a Capitals goalie off the bench since Ron Low stopped 43 (of 50) in a 12-1 loss to Pittsburgh on March 15, 1975, and his .956 save percentage (43-for-45) is the highest for a Caps non-starting goalie facing at least 29 shots since Wayne Stephenson saved all 29 that he saw in a 4-0 loss to Chicago on November 21, 1979. The 24-year-old Russian also became only the third Washington netminder to make 30 or more stops in relief and win the game, joining Philipp Grubauer (December 10, 2013) and Bernie Wolfe (March 25, 1977).
So yeah... in addition to last night being incredible, it was historic, and quite probably record-setting. More importantly, hopefully it’s the start of great things for Samsonov.