Ilya Samsonov will start in net for the Capitals against the Lightning on Wednesday, coach Peter Laviolette confirmed at the team’s morning skate.
Samsonov has not started a game since March 25 against the Sabres and has not made an appearance since March 28 against the Hurricanes. He’s also made just three starts in the last month.
“From him and from everybody, I’m hoping to see a good game,” Laviolette said. “Our goalie needs to play good, we need to play good defense, we need to generate more offensively. We’re looking for improvements.”
In 18 games played in 2022, Samsonov has a .888 save percentage with a 3.39 goals against average. He’s struggled with consistency at times, often putting up a solid performance one night and then not the next. That, paired with Vitek Vanecek’s improved play in the last few months, made Samsonov the clear No. 2 for the time being.
But with Laviolette looking for a clear No. 1 entering the playoffs in May, and the competition open, Samsonov has a chance to re-insert himself into the race.
The Capitals only had an optional skate in the morning, meaning line combinations will have to wait until pregame skate.