Quick Links

Ilya Samsonov willing to play in AHL, does not believe Caps are 'cursed'


Ilya Samsonov willing to play in AHL, does not believe Caps are 'cursed'

Goalie Ilya Samsonov is considered one of the top goalie prospects in the world and is someone the Capitals would like to bring over to North America sooner rather than later. But just how soon he leaves the KHL and his native Russia is up to him.

Samsonov is on the final year of his KHL contract and could come to North America as soon as this spring once his team's season is over. Or, alternatively, he could choose to sign a new contract to stay in the KHL a few more years.

So what is he planning on doing?

In an interview with Daria Tuboltseva of Championat, Samsonov was tight-lipped regarding his specific plans for next season, but said he has maintained contact with the team and is excited to play with the team’s Russian core.

RELATED: Alex Ovechkin gets no love from NHL Network

Apparently the Caps’ postseason history is well known even in Russia.

One complicating factor for Samsonov is just where the Caps would play him. The incumbent starter, Braden Holtby, is still in his prime at 27 years old and is one of the top netminders in the NHL. If Samsonov comes to North America for the 2018-19 season, at best he would serve as a backup to Holtby. At only 20 years old, however, it is more likely the Caps would send Samsonov to the AHL to get regular playing time.

Playing in the KHL, arguably the second best hockey league in the world, Samsonov has put up dazzling numbers (2.13 GAA, .936 save percentage in 27 games last season). It would be understandable if he did not want to leave his native country to come to North America just to play in a minor league, but Samsonov made clear playing in the AHL would not be an issue for him.

Despite the fact that he would not confirm his plans for next year, it was an encouraging interview for any Caps fans hoping to see the “fearless” young goalie prospect in Washington or Hershey in 2018.

Take that, Ilya Bryzgalov.

MORE CAPITALS: Verizon Center is now officially Capital One Arena

Quick Links

NHL Power Rankings: The home stretch

USA Today Sports

NHL Power Rankings: The home stretch

We are down to the home stretch. Only 10 games remain in the Capitals' regular season. Those 10 games will ultimately decide if the Caps finish in first place in the Metropolitan Division and who they will play in the first round of the playoffs.

Washington currently sits in first place in the division, two points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins and four points ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers. Of those 10 remaining games, only three come against teams currently in playoff position. The most critical of these comes on April 1 when the Caps travel to Pittsburgh in a game that could ultimately decide the division.

The Caps still hold a narrow lead in the standings, but where do they stand in the rankings? See this week's updated NHL Power Rankings here.

Quick Links

3 stars of the game: A lethargic loss in Philadelphia


3 stars of the game: A lethargic loss in Philadelphia

Playing three games in four days takes a toll on even the fittest athletes, and it was their sluggish start that doomed the Capitals in a 6-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. 

After being noncomittal about his starting goalie all weekend, Coach Barry Trotz put Philipp Grubauer in net. Grubauer ended up making 29 saves on 34 shots. Offensively, the Caps got goals from Alex Ovechkin, Chandler Stephenson, and John Carlson. Carlson's third period goal cut the Flyers' lead to two with a little over three minutes to go, but a Jakub Voracek empty-netter a few moments later was the nail in the coffin. 

Here are your three stars from the game: 

1. Travis Boyd had the play of the game for the Capitals. Boyd carried the puck into the Flyer's zone, cut through multiple defenders and fired a slick shot to a streaking Ovechkin, who burried the puck in the back of the net. Check it out: 

Not only was the play nice on its own, but it was Boyd's first NHL point. Not a bad way to get it. 

2. Shayne Gostisbehere​ got the Flyers going with his goal in the first period. The defenseman had one goal on five shots along with being an intimidating force in the defensive zone. After going six weeks without scoring, today's goal was Gostisbehere's second goal in three games. 

3. Wayne Simmonds was the best offensive player on the ice on Sunday, scoring twice - both in the final period. It was the 22nd and 23rd goals of the season for the 29-year-old winger. It was also the first multi-goal game for Simmonds since Opening Night, when he had two against San Jose. 

The Caps hit the ice next on Tuesday, when they welcome the Dallas Stars to the Capital One Center.