It looks like the Washington Capitals could face more complications in net, as Vitek Vanecek left Tuesday’s tilt in Pittsburgh early in the opening frame.
In the first few minutes of the game, Penguins forward Kasperi Kapanen was driving toward the net. After taking a hook from behind, he then toe-picked and collided with Vanecek, sending him hard to the ice.
The Czech netminder stayed in the net, but after Evgeni Malkin struck on the power play a few minutes later, he left the game after facing just two shots. Ilya Samsonov came in to relieve Vanecek just around seven minutes into the contest.
Vanecek suffered an upper-body injury on the play and will not return. Taxi squad goaltender Hunter Shepard dressed to back up Samsonov.
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Washington is currently in the throes of a back-to-back series and faces Edmonton on Wednesday. It is unclear whether or not the plan was to split the starts between both Vaneck and Samsonov.
Losing Vanecek would be a major loss for the Capitals. They have seen him start to take control of the crease and also find consistency in his game. In his last six starts, the 26-year-old has posted a .941 save percentage, 1.67 GAA and two shutouts.
Washington was already rumored to be looking into goaltenders, most notably former Penguin Marc-Andre Fleury.