The Washington Capitals’ season ended Sunday night with a loss to the Boston Bruins in Game 5 of the first-round playoffs matchup, but defenseman Dmitry Orlov and goaltender Ilya Samsonov aren’t done playing yet.
The duo will join Team Russia at the 2021 World Championship, which began May 21 and runs through June 6 in Minsk, Belarus and Riga, Latvia. Alex Ovechkin, meanwhile, wasn’t included in the Russian team “due to injury,” according to the International Ice Hockey Foundation’s release.
Ovechkin missed seven games late in the season with a lower-body injury, but he returned against the Bruins, scoring two goals and adding two assists in the first four games of the series. Ovechkin was one of several key players nursing injuries before and during the series.
“We all played,” center Nicklas Backstrom said. “I feel like at this time of the year, everyone on every team have players that’s banged up. No excuses there.”
Samsonov started the final three games of the series — starting three straight games for the first time in his NHL career — and provided mixed results. He recorded 40 saves in Game 3, but one miscommunication in double overtime with defenseman Justin Schultz led to Boston finding the winner, casting a pall over his performance.
In Game 4, the 24-year-old posted 33 saves in the 4-1 defeat, and he stopped 16 of the 19 shots he faced in the series-ending Game 5. Samsonov had missed two weeks entering the postseason, landing on the coronavirus protocol list for the second time this season.
“There were things that he did — I mean, you guys watched the series, so you know the highs and the lows and the goods and the bads,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “He’s a young goaltender that went in. He did it coming off a big layoff.”
And Orlov contributed three assists during the first-round series, but he was part of a defense that crumbled against the Bruins’ speed in the latter portion of the matchup.
Team Russia also called up winger Vladimir Tarasenko of the St. Louis Blues to the World Championships team. Before Tarasenko, Orlov and Samsonov can play, they must quarantine for six days while receiving daily coronavirus tests.