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game recap

Samsonov wins NHL debut, Capitals spoil Islanders opener

Makes 25 saves, Oshie breaks tie in second period

by Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / Deputy Managing Editor

Samsonov's point-blank save

WSH@NYI: Samsonov stands strong to stone Nelson

Brock Nelson tries to tap home a centering feed at the doorstep, but Ilya Samsonov shuts his pads to deny the scoring opportunity

  • 00:45 •

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Ilya Samsonov won his NHL debut when he made 25 saves in the Washington Capitals' 2-1 victory against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum on Friday.

Samsonov, a first-round pick (No. 22) in the 2015 NHL Draft, made the save on all 17 shots he faced over final two periods.

"I feel great," the 22-year-old goalie said. "It's my first win in the NHL. [I was] maybe just a little bit nervous. Everybody helped me. It was a very good game."


[WATCH: All Capitals vs. Islanders highlights]


Jakub Vrana and T.J. Oshie scored for Washington, which has opened its season with consecutive road wins. The Capitals defeated the St. Louis Blues 3-2 in overtime Wednesday.

"It's early and we're learning, but I think the guys have adjusted well to how we want to play the game this year," Oshie said. "We've got some great goaltending; good job by [Samsonov] tonight in his debut. That was really big. It's a long season, but it feels like this year we're pretty excited to get started. The boys are playing hard and playing for each other, and it's a good start for a long year."

Devon Toews scored, and Semyon Varlamov made 26 saves in his debut with New York, which played its first game of the season.

"All in all, it's a 2-1 hockey game, we just weren't able to get that extra one and tie it up," Islanders captain Anders Lee said. "They did a good job, I thought, really stepping up and eliminating a lot of our opportunities. For the most part, I thought we did a pretty good job doing that to them. They got the power-play goal."

Oshie broke a tie on the power play with 2:17 remaining in the second period. John Carlson's shot from the right point didn't get through, but Oshie found the puck in the slot and backhanded it past Varlamov for a 2-1 lead.

Video: WSH@NYI: Oshie roofs power-play goal from his knees

"They were playing pretty passive, I think, after we got a look or two," Oshie said. "So [Carlson] made a good read and just threw the puck in. I got a tip on it, but it hit their skates and it was just kind of laying there. You just swipe it and try and get it elevated. No idea exactly where it's going though."

Carlson prevented the Islanders from taking the lead 2:12 earlier when he swatted Brock Nelson's backhand shot away from the goal line after the puck trickled past Samsonov.

"Our defense is probably the area that has seen the most change over the last couple of years," Capitals coach Todd Reirden said. "Being without a couple of key leaders and guys that had been here for a while, it's up to some new guys, whether it's (defenseman Radko) Gudas, who we've added, or some young players, stepping up in different roles.

"Obviously, it hasn't been perfect, but there's a reason that the shot totals are down, and that's a five-man effort. But I thought in particular our defense is doing a strong job."

Vrana gave Washington a 1-0 lead at 10:25 of the first period with a wrist shot from the right face-off circle. It was his second goal in as many games.

Video: WSH@NYI: Vrana wires shot past Varlamov on the rush

Toews tied it when his shot from the left boards went off three Capitals players, last hitting the skate of Gudas and going in to make it 1-1 at 12:27.

Mathew Barzal nearly tied it for the Islanders at 7:25 of the third period when his wrist shot from the left point through a crowd in front hit the goal post.

"One of those things," Lee said. "It's a game of inches. We get that one to go, we got a lucky bounce from [Toews]. It's a 2-1 hockey game. It's just coming out on the wrong side."

Video: WSH@NYI: Toews pinballs shot in off defenders


They said it

"He definitely looks the part and was the part for sure tonight. Bad bounce, it goes off one of our players and in the net. Otherwise, he's rock solid. That was a great first game for me for a highly touted prospect, and especially playing that position. That was a real strong game." -- Capitals coach Todd Reirden on goalie Ilya Samsonov

"They were the better team in the third, plain and simple. They got on us, we tried to slow things down a bit on our back end, and some of our decisions weren't good, and they're a good transition team. They had their gaps, they stayed on top of us. … They pulled away from us in the third." -- Islanders coach Barry Trotz


Need to know

Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov served the second of a three-game suspension for inappropriate conduct during the offseason. … Trotz coached his 1,607th NHL game, tying former Islanders coach Al Arbour for third-most on the all-time list. Trotz is 810-596-141 with 60 ties. … Samsonov is the first goalie to get a win in his NHL debut against the Islanders since Aaron Dell with the San Jose Sharks on Oct. 18, 2016. … Center Derick Brassard had a shot on goal and was plus-1 in his New York debut.


What's next

Capitals: Host the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSWA, FS-CR, NHL.TV)

Islanders: Host the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday (Nassau Coliseum; 7 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, MSG+, NHL.TV)

Video: Oshie, Samsonov lift Capitals to 2-1 victory

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