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No Kuznetsov, Samsonov for Capitals vs. Bruins in Game 1


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NHLI via Getty Images

It took until just before puck drop, but we now know that the Capitals won’t have Ilya Samsonov or Evgeny Kuznetsov in the lineup vs. the Bruins in Game 1 of their Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round series. On the other hand, the Capitals will roll out T.J. Oshie, who had been dealing with a lower-body injury.

Vitek Vanecek will start, while Craig Anderson is serving as his backup. Will Samsonov get back into the action as this series goes along? We’ll have to see.

Update: Vanecek ended up getting injured, yet Anderson helped the Capitals earn a 3-2 OT win over the Bruins in Game 1. Wow.

[Capitals - Bruins 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round series preview]

Capitals - Bruins Game 1: No Kuznetsov or Samsonov for Caps

Hockey teams are guarded about injury updates, especially as things gear up for the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Even by those standards, Peter Laviolette wasn’t very transparent heading into Game 1.

There’s been some confusion about how much COVID factors into these Capitals decisions. As the Washington Post’s Samantha Pell notes, Ilya Samsonov is no longer on the COVID protocol list, while Evgeny Kuznetsov is still on it.

If you want an idea about how difficult it’s been to follow the Kuznetsov and/or Samsonov confusion regarding the Capitals, check out Russian Machine Never Breaks. They even put together the confusing timeline together under the heading “The Kuzfusion.”

Here’s how the Capitals’ Game 1 lineup looks heading in vs. the Bruins. Interesting to see if Washington will stick with Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Anthony Mantha for an extended period of time, or eventually aim for scoring balance.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.