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You Be the Coach: The Goalie Conundrum

It’s time for you to make another big decision!

Philadelphia Flyers v Washington Capitals Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Welcome back, Peter Laviolette! Another tough coaching decision awaits your review. Right this way...

After the first two games of the series, your selected starting goaltender had a solid Game 1 and a somewhat disastrous Game 2. You and your team now return home for Game 3 with the series locked up at one win apiece, looking to maintain your newly acquired home ice advantage.

As Game 3 looms, do you let Vitek Vanecek back between the pipes to try and redeem himself... or do you reel in that short leash and give Ilya Samsonov a chance to right the ship?

Here are the facts.

In his first start of the series, Vanecek was very good, turning aside 30 of the 32 shots faced for a save percentage of .938. Unfortunately he followed that up with five goals on 19 shots, including a couple he just absolutely needed to have (the most disappointing one being a quick goal by Florida after the Caps had cut the deficit to one).

It was a stumble, to be sure, but Vanecek has been somewhat decent at bouncing back over the course of his career. He has given up four or more goals 18 times in 80 games played; in the game immediately following those rough outings, including the first game of this postseason, he is 12-4-1 (one no decision) with a save percentage of .906 and three shutouts.

That said, the Caps may not be able to afford him the time to have a stellar bounceback game (and in those games allowing 4+ goals, he has also followed up one with another on a few occasions).

Given that, perhaps it’s time for Ilya Samsonov to give it a try. After all, he was very good in relief of Vanecek last night, turning aside all 17 shots he faced in a very busy period of work. He does have a slightly better GAA at home, and more shutouts in DC as well, than Vanecek (although Vanecek has the slim edge in wins and save percentage).

So what’s your call - do you hop aboard the Samsonov-coaster again or let Vanecek get another shot at the Panthers?


Who is your starting goaltender for Game 3 vs. the Panthers?

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  • 64%
    (164 votes)
  • 35%
    (92 votes)
256 votes total Vote Now