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Capitals get first up-close look at Samsonov

Capitals get first up-close look at Samsonov

Capitals goaltending guru Mitch Korn likes to talk – a lot.

And while that may be a good thing for most of the goaltenders he works with, it was an enormous obstacle for Capitals top goaltending prospect Ilya Samsonov, who on Tuesday took the ice for the first time at Kettler for the start of the club’s annual development camp.

The only goaltender taken in the first round of the 2015 draft at 22nd overall, Samsonov spent two hours on the ice, where he received animated instructions from Korn with the help of Capitals senior director of communications Sergey Kocharov.

“You’ve got a guy from another country who’s never been here, who speaks no English, who’s in culture shock,” Korn said. “He just practiced harder than he’s ever practiced in his life in one day.”

“It was really hard,” Samsonov said through Kocharov. “So many shots.”


Korn may not have liked every tendency he saw from Samsonov on Tuesday, but realizes he’s not going to change much in five on-ice sessions.

“I’m not going to pass judgment on one day,” he said. “One day certainly isn’t going to make a month or a career. It was an adjustment for him, it was a big adjustment. He’s a very big guy, a physical guy who fills a lot of net. But it’s a whole different culture. The level of intensity is way different here than where he comes from.”

When the Capitals drafted Samsonov last year, they were enamored by his size (6-foot-3, 200 pounds) and his cat-like reflexes. But in his first full season with Magnitogorsk Mettalurg of the KHL, Samsonov played in just 19 games, posting a 2.04 GAA and .925 save percentage. He also played in six KHL playoff games and posted a 2.29 GAA and .916 SP.

Samsonov has two more years remaining on his KHL contract and both he and the Capitals would like to see the 19-year-old goalie play more KHL games next season.

“I still have a two-year contract so we’ll see,” Samsonov said. “I hope to play in the best league in the world.”

“From our end we would like to see him play more,” Korn said. “True No. 1 goalies play a lot.”

Speaking of goalies, the Capitals will be looking to sign one when free agency rolls around on Friday. With the anticipated departures of Hershey goalies Justin Peters and Dan Ellis via free agency, the Caps will be looking to sign an experienced goalie to a two-way contract and make him the starter in Hershey ahead of Vitek Vanecek and No. 3 on the Caps’ depth chart in the event Holtby or Grubauer is injured next season.

The Caps also will look to add a goaltender who can back up recently signed Adam Carlson, a 6-foot-3, 180-pounder out of Mercyhurst who is expected to be the starter with the ECHL South Carolina Stingrays next season.

“He works very hard,” Korn said of Carlson, 22. “He doesn’t stop, he pushes through. He’s a big goalie and he’s extremely quick and athletic for a guy his size. He’s very green. We wanted to find, much like Pheonix Copley, a diamond in the rough, a guy willing to worek and grow and climb the ladder.

"I’m a big believer in late bloomers. I’m a big believer in earning everything. I was very happy with his practice today. He battled like a son of a gun at times. We ground them to salt today.”


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NHL Playoff 2019 Roundup: Blues shutout Sharks 5-0 to win Game 5

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NHL Playoff 2019 Roundup: Blues shutout Sharks 5-0 to win Game 5

The St. Louis Blues won a decisive Game 5 against the San Jose Sharks 5-0, pushing the Sharks to the brink of elimination.

The Blues are now one win away from their first Stanley Cup Final since the 1969-70 season, where they lost to the Boston Bruins in a sweep.

St. Louis started the scoring early when Oskar Sundqvist netted his second goal of the series in the first five minutes of the game. 

Jaden Schwartz then tallied his first goal of the game off a juicy rebound in front of Martin Jones to start the scoring in the second period. It was Schwartz's 10th goal of the playoffs, which tied him for third all-time in Blues history for goals in the postseason.

Vladimir Tarasenko added to the Blues lead off a penalty shot. He's the first player in Blues franchise history to score a penalty shot goal in the playoffs.

Schwartz then added two more goals in the third period for a hat-trick. The first came on a 5-on-3 power play advantage off a scramble in front of the net, and the second came from a backdoor one-timer pass from Tarasenko.

Schwartz now has 12 goals these playoffs, and it's his second hat-trick of the playoffs.

Blues goalie Jordan Binnington recorded 21 saves for a shutout, and he's the first rookie goalie to accomplish that feat for the Blues.


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NHL Playoff 2019 Roundup: Blues pull even with Sharks with 2-1 win

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NHL Playoff 2019 Roundup: Blues pull even with Sharks with 2-1 win

The St. Louis Blues' two-goal first period powered them to a win over the San Jose Sharks, and the series is now tied.

The Blues started with a goal 35 seconds into the game. Ivan Barbashev picked off a Brent Burns exit pass and flung it towards the net for the games opening goal. 

Barbashev is the second Blues player to score in the first minute of a game these playoffs. Jaden Schwartz is the other player.

Tyler Bozak scored the game-winning goal for the Blues on a power play off a scramble in front of the net.

The Sharks responded when Thomas Hertl poked the puck past the goal line after Jordan Binnington thought he had the puck covered. Hertl now has 10 goals this postseason for the Sharks, and the team now features 10 or more players to score 10+ goals in the playoffs for the second time in franchise history.

Binnington's 29 save performance gave him his 10th win of the playoffs, the most of any Blues goaltender in franchise history.