Ilya Samsonov proving to be a 'true gamer'

Chris Lingebach
January 17, 2020 - 2:49 pm
Ilya Samsonov proving to be a 'true gamer' for Capitals

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Ilya Samsonov is off to a stellar start to his career, securing another win with the Capitals 5-2 victory over New Jersey Thursday night to improve to 14-2-1 in 18 games (16 starts) on the season.

Samsonov now leads the league with a 2.10 goals against average and his .926 save percentage ranks seventh among NHL goaltenders.

Here's how he stacks up next to Braden Holtby in those same categories: 3.02 GAA (42nd), .899 save percentage (43rd). Holtby has obviously played more games, going 18-9-4 in 32 starts this season.

During his weekly 106.7 The Fan appearance presented by F.H. Furr, Caps forward Carl Hagelin was asked if he anticipated Samsonov playing so well in his rookie season.

"I think it's always hard to know about a goalie when you just see him in practice," Hagelin said, "because there's always gonna be goalies that are really good in practice but not as good in games, and I feel like he's the opposite."

Samsonov also earned his first career shutout this week by blanking the Hurricanes 2-0 on Monday, stopping all 23 shots on goal in the performance.

"He's a true gamer," Hagelin said. "When the puck drops in the game, he just turns into this monster in net, which is great."

"I heard he was supposed to be a really good goalie," he added. "But I don't think I expected him to play this well for us."