Samsonov again stopped Ovi and defeated Washington.
For those Russian National Hockey League fans who follow the Washington Capitals especially closely, one of the exciting intrigues of this season is definitely the performance of goaltender Ilya Samsonov in the Toronto Maple Leafs. For several years, the goalkeeper tried to become the first number of a club from the US capital, repeatedly fell under the wrath of Alexander Ovechkin and eventually changed his registration from American to Canadian. Were the bosses, the coaching staff and the captain of the Capitals right?
At the moment, most of the regular season is behind us, and so far we can conclude that Samsonov, at least, has not lost anything from moving from Washington to Toronto. Yes, he continues to act as a backup, but at the same time he won 17 out of 24 matches played, and in terms of penetration ratio and the percentage of reflected shots, Ilya gives out the best season in his North American career.
And what about his personal confrontation with the Capitals? Until Sunday, there was equality in it – in October, the Maple Leafs defeated the team of Alexander Ovechkin with a score of 3: 2, and in November they lost to it 2: 5. But on the eve of Samsonov came forward in a duel with the former team.
Moreover, the game in Toronto began very successfully for Washington – the guests opened the scoring at the end of the first period, scored for the first time in the season Niklas Backströmwho missed October, November and December due to injury recovery.
But then a nightmare happened with the “Capital”. In the second 20 minutes, they managed to concede 4 goals at once, making a uniform mess at their own gates. The second goal of the Maple Leaves looks indicative, when most of the Washington five returned to the aid of their goaltender too late, and Alexander Ovechkin and did it last.
Pulling out such a game was almost impossible, and “Washington” did not try too hard. In the third game segment, the Capitals only threw 5 times at the opponent’s goal, conceded another and eventually lost with a score of 1:5.
And how is the confrontation between Ovechkin and Samsonov? For 22 minutes spent on the ice, Alexander the Great threw 6 times on target the former teammate, but he did not manage to break through. By the way, in the first two games of this regular season against Toronto, Ovi was also left without goals.
Samsonov would certainly have become the main star of the evening, if not for the anniversary of John Tavares, who played the 1000th match in NHL. Against this background, Ilya’s victory over his principal opponent faded into the background.
Toronto is in the top three of the Eastern Conference, but Washington is teetering on the brink of the Cup Eight, not currently falling into it by lost points. The Russian goalkeeper of the Maple Leafs has a good chance of staying longer this season than a team that just recently didn’t need him.