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Prospect Report: A bizarre finish for Ilya Samsonov


Prospect Report: A bizarre finish for Ilya Samsonov

Hershey update: 18-11-1-5, 4th in the Atlantic Division. Last week: 2-0-0-0

The Hershey Bears snapped a three-game losing skid in dramatic fashion on Saturday as they battled back from a 5-1 deficit to beat Binghamton 6-5 in overtime.

Madison Bowey had three assists, Christian Djoos had two, but the player who really impressed was Nathan Walker who scored two goals and one assist.

With Zach Sill up with the Caps and Chandler Stephenson day-to-day with an upper-body injury, Walker was moved from wing to center for both of Hershey's games last week. It's a move Walker and head coach Troy Mann have discussed before, but was never tried until now.

Walker added an assist in Sunday's win over Bridgeport Sound for four points in his first two games at center. Not a bad debut. Whether he continues playing center or if this is strictly temporary is definitely something to keep an eye on.

While everyone was paying attention to the NHL All-Star rosters, the AHL announced their teams as well and two Bears made the cut. Connor Carrick will join Chris Bourque as an Atlantic Division All-Star for the AHL All-Star Classic. In 28 games this season, Carrick has eight goals and seven assists.

Jakub Vrana appears to be inching closer to a return. According to Pat Welter of ABC 27, Vrana visited a doctor Wednesday and "is close to being cleared for full contact."

RELATED: Capitals showing a real killer instinct under Trotz

Other prospect notes:

Ilya Samsonov earned silver in this year's IIHF World Junior Championship as Russia fell to Finland in the finals. Though he was expected to start heading into the tournament, Alexander Georgiev took the bulk of the starts and Samsonov only played in one game in the round robin.

Georgiev was shaky in the quarterfinals, allowing three goals on 21 shots, and head coach Valeri Braglin decided to start Samsonov in the semifinals against the United States. Samsonov stopped 26 of 27 shots in a 2-1 Russia win, but Bragin surprisingly went back to Georgiev in the finals. The move did not pay off as Russia lost in overtime.

In two games, Samsonov posted a .956 save percentage with a 1.00 GAA. As a comparison, Georgiev had a .898 save percentage and 2.52 GAA.

Samsonov was also wearing a pretty awesome Assassins Creed goalie mask.

Goalie Vitek Vanecek started in all five of the Czech Republic's games, but was pulled in the quarterfinals after the U.S. jumped out to a 2-0 lead. This article offers a pretty thorough breakdown of what went wrong in the quarterfinal loss and whether Vanecek was really to blame.

For the tournament, Vanecek went 2-3 with a .881 save percentage, 2.73 GAA and one shutout.

Despite entering the tournament with high hopes, Jonas Siegenthaler's Swiss team only narrowly avoided relegation thanks to two wins over Belarus. The young defenseman had only one assist for the entire tournament, but he led all Swiss defensemen in shots (11).

Some troubling news out of Regina where defenseman Colby Williams will undergo wrist surgery. Williams suffered an arm injury over the summer which, according to Greg Hrader of the Regina Leader-Post, "caused significant nerve damage." He missed the first 16 games of the season, only returning on Nov. 13. As he is still missing strength in his hand and wrist, it was decided that he needed a followup procedure.

Williams is expected to return before the end of the season.

Tim McGauley continues his remarkable resurgence for the Brandon Wheat Kings with another goal this week. After missing much of the start of the season due to injury, McGauley now has 19 points in 19 games.

In the college ranks, Steven Spinner recorded three assist in Nebrakas-Omaha's 6-0 win over Trinity Western. As the game was an exhibition, however, none of those points will count towards his stats for the season.

Thomas DiPauli scored the shootout winner for Notre Dame over Denver on New Year's Day. You can watch it here. He also tallied another goal in the rematch the next day.

The top team in the nation was dethroned this week as Brown upset Providence 4-3 despite Brian Pinho's effort. Pinho showed very good hands in this game with a goal and an assist for the Friars.

Check out the highlights. Pinho assisted on Providence's first goal and he scored their third:

MORE CAPITALS: Capitals, Islanders react to Johansson's hit on Hickey

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Caps prospect watch: Boyd dedicates 4-goal performance to daughter after week in the hospital


Caps prospect watch: Boyd dedicates 4-goal performance to daughter after week in the hospital

It would have been understandable if Travis Boyd struggled this past week. Something more important was on his mind.

Boyd spent the week in the hospital with his daughter, Hayden, who had been experiencing pain in her throat. He spent the enitre week in the hospital, not leaving until Hershey's game against Laval.

Boyd turned this trial into something incredible as he scored four goals Friday in Hershey's 6-3 win.

Boyd spoke about the ordeal with Zach Fisch of the Bears Radio Network (transcription via RMNB).

“It actually started after the game last Sunday against Rochester," he said. "I went straight from the rink to Urgent Care and then from Urgent Care to the ER. Never left the hospital until Friday morning. We had a successful surgery on Thursday night. Basically just a bad infection in her throat that had to be surgically removed. They had to surgically go in and kind of remove the bacteria and drain out the fluids. Everything went well. She’s doing well.”

Following the game, Boyd dedicated his performance to Hayden.

A four-goal game at the AHL level would have been an incredible accomplishment on its own. The fact that it came during such a trying time for him makes this a truly inspirational story.

You can watch highlights of the game including all four of Boyd's goals here:


Other prospect notes:

  • In the Bears' game Friday against Laval, Riley Barber dropped the gloves with Markus Eisenchmid.  Barber was given an extra minor and game misconduct for instigating the fight in the final five minutes of the game. That penalty carries with it an automatic one-game suspension which Barber served Saturday. Here's a look at the fight.

  • Liam O'Brien had a pair of two-goal games over the week, scoring twice against Laval Friday and then two more against Toronto on Monday. Of his four goals, three of them were empty netters.
  • As the Capitals prepare for their Stadium Series game in Annapolis on March 3, Annapolis mayor Gavin Buckley—a native of Perth, Australia—made a plea to see Nathan Walker recalled for the game.  “I’ll have to put a quick shout out to the one Australian that’s playing for the Caps now, Nathan Walker. If you could just bring him up for this game, that’d be great. Because an Australian being in a hockey game is like a Jamaican bobsled team. It doesn’t happen very often.”

  • Brian Pinho was honored Friday in Providence College's Senior Night. He has served as captain of the team this season and as an assistant captain in his junior year. He spoke with The Cowl on what being a leader on the team means to him. "I think being a leader of this team is a great honor, but also a huge responsibility. I try to keep everything fun at the rink, while also bringing some intensity and competing hard every day.” You can read the full story here.
  • Goalie Adam Carlson, who was on loan to the Indy Fuel of the ECHL, was reassigned to the Kansas City Mavericks also of the ECHL. He started two games for his new team and turned aside 42 of the 48 total shots he faced.

Who are the Caps' top 10 prospects? Find out here in his week's updated rankings.

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Game 61: Capitals at Panthers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread


Game 61: Capitals at Panthers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Florida Panthers

Where: BB&T Center, Sunrise, Fla.

When: 7:30 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Panthers will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Panthers game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.


The Capitals (34-19-7) take on the Panthers (26-25-6) Tuesday, February 22 at 7:30 p.m. ET in Florida.


The Capitals-Panthers game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:30 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 7:00 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:30 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:30 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:30 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
7:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:30 p.m. — Capitals at Panthers
10:00 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:30 p.m. — Caps in 30


Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Panthers game:

Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Michal Kempny - Brooks Orpik

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Alex Chiasson, Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerabek


The Capitals-Panthers game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.


Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.