- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 16, 2019

One game after Braden Holtby failed to make a save on three goals allowed and was replaced after eight minutes, the Washington Capitals will start Ilya Samsonov at goaltender Wednesday against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Samsonov, the 22-year-old who entered training camp as the highest-rated prospect in Washington’s farm system, replaced Holtby on Monday night, saving 19 shots and allowing two goals in a 6-3 loss to the Colorado Avalanche.

Holtby’s save percentage for the season is down to .846, with a record of 1-1-2.

Wednesday will be Samsonov’s first regular-season start at home. He won his two previous starts this season at the New York Islanders and Dallas Stars.

Samsonov has been long hailed as the goalie of the future in Washington. Holtby’s contract is up at the end of this season, so this could spell the beginning of the end for his long tenure with the Capitals.

After Monday’s game, Reirden mentioned that he and the staff were at the point of making a decision every night on which goalie to start, rather than just defaulting to Holtby as the No. 1 in standard situations.

“[Samsonov is] doing what he’s supposed to be doing, and that’s to make it like a decision every night of who’s going to be considered to play that game,” Reirden said. “He’s been solid in his showings and we’ll continue to evaluate appropriately for what gives our team the best chance to have success.”

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