The Washington Capitals have one of the top goaltending duos in the NHL in the Czech Republic's Vitek Vanecek (21-10-4, 2.69 GAA, .908 SV) and Russian Ilya Samsonov (13-4-1, 2.69 GAA, .902 SV). However, it appears neither will be able to play Monday night when the Capitals host the Boston Bruins for Game 2 of their playoff series and that Washington will go with 39-year-old Craig Anderson. William Hill Sportsbook oddsmakers have taken notice as Boston is a -135 road favorite.
Vanecek was knocked out in the first period of Washington's 3-2 overtime win Saturday with a lower-body injury – they never say exactly what the injury is in hockey. He's listed as day-to-day but will not start Monday or perhaps even be active. Samsonov normally would have replaced the injured Vanecek but he was still on the COVID list Saturday. Samsonov is off that now but apparently not quite ready to play yet because he hasn't seen game action since May 1 (update: Samsonov has been officially ruled out).
Thus, all signs point to Anderson – who was the first goalie off the ice Monday morning -- making his first playoff start since 2017 when he was with the Ottawa Senators. He did play well Saturday in allowing just a power-play goal on 22 shots. Anderson (39 years, 359 days) became the oldest goaltender in Caps history to win a game, supplanting Mike Liut (34 years, 110 days), who won Game 5 of Washington's second-round playoff series with the Rangers in New York on April 27, 1990.
During the regular season, Anderson saw just 169 minutes worth of action and was 2-1-0 with a 2.13 GAA and .915 SV. Anderson, who will be 40 on Friday, spent most of the year on the taxi squad as the third-stringer. Pheonix Copley finished Saturday night as Anderson's backup (and will be the No. 2 Monday), and the Caps also recalled goaltender Zach Fucale from AHL Hershey on Sunday.
Washington was hoping to get back center Evgeny Kuznetsov on Monday as he was taken off the COVID protocol list but apparently will not go yet. He had nine goals and 29 points in 41 games but hasn't played since May 1.
Boston will again go with Tuukka Rask in net. Rask allowed three goals on 32 shots in Saturday's loss. The B's will not have defenseman Jeremy Lauzon after he left Saturday's game with a hand injury. Connor Clifton will draw into the lineup to replace him.
Looking for the best picks against the spread, sharp action on the total and props you can take to the window? Join Jonathan Coachman on the Early Edge as he speaks with SportsLine's top handicappers to preview every day's biggest games. We promise to keep it short, sweet and to put some green in your pocket. Early Edge is under 10 minutes and in your feed every single day by 11 AM ET. Download right here or wherever you get your podcasts.