The Washington Capitals will get to see another new netminder make their team debut on Thursday as Charlie Lindgren gets the nod against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Lindgren will get his first regular-season game of action with the Capitals after signing a three-year, $3.3 million deal to join the club in July as Darcy Kuemper’s backup. Kuemper had a bit of a rocky start to his D.C. tenure, surrendering four goals on 30 shots in the team’s 5-2 season-opening loss to the Boston Bruins.
As is the case with back-to-backs most of the time, head coach Peter Laviolette told reporters in Toronto that Lindgren is getting the second game of this back-to-back to start the year. It’s unclear if there are any other lineup changes coming.
The 28-year-old is coming off a strong postseason that saw him boast a .953 save percentage through three appearances. It’s unclear if there are any other lineup changes coming. Headling into the campaign, Lindgren said that he wants to show Washington that he’s a reliable option between the pipes and that he will be ready when his number is called.
“Going into this year, every single chance I have to get in the crease, I want to make the most of it, and I want the guys to trust me,” he added. “Certainly want these guys to rely on me and know that when I’m back there, they can definitely trust me.”
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His teammates have also taken a quick liking to the still up-and-coming netminder, who had the second-best save percentage in the AHL last season (.925) and also went 5-0-0 with a .958 SV% while with the St. Louis Blues in 2021-22.
“Chuck is an awesome guy… I love that guy,” T.J. Oshie said. “He’s been great in the locker room and also on the ice working with guys, doing the extra stuff in practice and doing the little games at the end. That’s the fun stuff and when you bond and get better. That’s a great tandem back there. And I’m excited for them to get to work.”
Meanwhile, Ilya Samsonov will make his Leafs debut and get the call vs. his former Capitals. Lindgren and Kuemper replaced Samsonov and Vanecek this offseason after two seasons of inconsistency led general manager Brian MacLellan to go for a complete overhaul in net and let Samsonov and Vanecek go.
Puck drop is at 7:30 p.m. ET at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.