- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
With Vanecek day-to-day, where do the Caps go from here in net? originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
The Capitals survived Game 1 on Saturday despite Vitek Vanecek leaving the game in the first period, but there is still a series to play and it will continue with Game 2 on Monday. Someone is going to have to be in net and someone is going to have to be the backup. Just who those two goalies will be, however, is unclear.
On Sunday, head coach Peter Laviolette called Vanecek day-to-day with a lower-body injury which, at first glance, may sound hopeful, but really there was no concrete update at all as to his status going forward.
"[Vanecek's] day-to-day and so we'll see," Laviolette said. "I'm not sure. I'm not sure if it's a short day-to-day or a longer day-to-day."
With Game 2 coming on Monday, that certainly puts Vanecek's status for that game in doubt.
Ilya Samsonov returned to the ice for Sunday's optional skate for the first time since being placed on the COVID-19 protocol list. That is a step in the right direction towards a return to the lineup, but after being off the ice for about two weeks, Laviolette had no timetable for when he might be ready for game action.
When asked if Samsonov would be an option for Game 2, Laviolette said, "I've got a goaltender who just came back, is on the ice for the first time today and we're going to evaluate and see where he's at."
With the status of the team's top two goalies, at best, uncertain for Game 2, all signs certainly seem to point to Craig Anderson getting the start.
Anderson came on in relief of Vanecek on Saturday and made 21 saves in the overtime victory.
"We're really happy with the way that Anderson's played for us and the games that he's played," Laviolette said. "You're talking about an experienced goaltender who's been there and done that, has excellent numbers in the regular season and the postseason, when called upon by our organization has answered the bell."
Should Anderson start, it would be his first playoff start since May 25, 2017. If neither Vanecek nor Samsonov are available, Pheonix Copley will likely serve as the backup with the No. 3 being Zach Fucale who was recalled from Hershey on Sunday. Given the way this season has gone for the Caps, all three goalies should be ready to play because you just don't know who is going to be called upon.
Beyond Game 2, it will be a process of getting Vanecek and Samsonov back ready to play. Those two remain the team's best options and look poised to take over the starting job when available, but Anderson certainly could vault himself into the discussion with another solid performance on Monday.