Capitals

Samsonov shuts out Kings, Hathaway nets two in Capitals win

Capitals
Garnet Hathaway

The Capitals got back in the win column with a 2-0 win over the Los Angeles Kings late Wednesday at Staples Center with two late goals from Garnet Hathaway. The win moves the team to 1-0-1 on its four-game road swing to the west coast.

Washington now is 10-2-5 and has earned points in 15 of its 17 games so far this season.

Here are a few takeaways from the Capitals’ second west coast game of the week:

Garnet Hathaway, goal scorer

Late in the third period with the score knotted at 0-0, Hathaway found himself in the right place at the right time. 

As Jonathan Quick came far out of his net to challenge a John Carlson chance, Hathaway positioned himself on the far post with his stick on the ice. Carlson found him, as the redirect went into the net to give the Capitals a 1-0 lead with 3:30 left. It ended up being the game-winner. 

Then, for good measure, Hathaway buried an empty-net goal late.

Hathaway now has five goals on the season, all of which have come in the last four games. He's now more than halfway to his goal total from all of last season (six). He's also got six points in his last five games.

Samsonov starts, shines

Ilya Samsonov got the first of what figures to be two starts on the west coast swing, his fifth of the season. With another back-to-back scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, it’s expected he and Vitek Vanecek will each get one more game before the team returns home next week. 

 

Samsonov played extremely well in his start, fending off a strong first period push by the Kings and stopping an offensive flurry late in the second period to keep the game scoreless. 

In all, he stopped all 34 of the Kings' shots on net, including a few fantastic saves in the third period to keep the score tied once more.

It was the most saves he's had in any game this season and the fifth-most of his NHL career. It was also the most saves he's ever had in a shutout performance.

Capitals switch up lines

The Capitals jumbled their lines at the end of Tuesday’s game against the Ducks, and they stuck with some of the new trios a night later against the Kings. 

Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov skated with Conor Sheary to start, as Tom Wilson bumped down to skate with Connor McMichael and Axel Jonsson-Fjallby, who traded places with Daniel Sprong. Then, in the third period, the Capitals changed up once again for a few shifts and put Ovechkin, McMichael and Wilson together on the top line with the new second line consisting of Sheary, Kuznetsov and Jonsson-Fjallby.

The end results, despite the win, weren't what the Capitals were exactly hoping for.

With Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie, Nic Dowd and Anthony Mantha out of the lineup, the Capitals are starting to have to get creative with their lineup combinations to generate offense. 

California Dreamin’

After a pair of games in two nights in Southern California, the Capitals will have two days off before their next game a bit further north against the Sharks in San Jose on Saturday. They’ll conclude their road swing with the first ever game against the Seattle Kraken on Sunday. 

When the team returns to D.C. next Wednesday, they’ll have just one more game before Thanksgiving and the ever-important American Thanksgiving deadline. Typically in a full 82-game season, the playoff standings as of Thanksgiving are a strong indicator of what the playoffs might look like come springtime. 

As the team has gotten three points in the first two games of a four-game swing, finishing the road trip strong will be of utmost importance.