Capitals Switch to Philipp Grubauer Against Buffalo Sabres  

Philipp Grubauer was in the starter’s net at Saturday’s morning skate at Kettler Capitals Iceplex prior to playing the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night at Capital One Arena. 

Grubauer has started all of Washington’s games against the Sabres and will do so again Saturday night. Grubauer made 29 saves on 31 shots in a 3-1 loss to the Sabres at KeyBank Center on November 7 and 32 saves on 34 shots in a 3-2 win in Buffalo on Monday. He enters tonight with a 0.938 save percentage against the Sabres this season. Lifetime against the Sabres, he is 3-1-2 with a .952 save percentage and a 1.34 goals against average.

In his past 16 appearances prior to Monday’s game, Grubauer was 5-5-2 with a 2.14 goals against average and a .931 save percentage.

Grubauer has played in five games this month, two of them were relief appearances. He has stopped 74 of the 79 shots that came his way on the Caps’ recent four-game road trip, good for a 0.937 save percentage.

While Grubauer has played well as of late, another reason why the Capitals decided to go with Grubauer is because Braden Holtby is in the midst of a career-long five-game winless streak. Though, Capitals coach Barry Trotz said that it was planned to start Grubauer against the Sabres. He also added that Holtby played well against the Panthers on Thursday.

During the stretch, Holtby has given up 22 goals on 148 shots, good for a .851 save percentage. Despite the rough stretch, Holtby has played well at times. He made 40 saves on 44 shots against the Winnipeg Jets in a 4-3 overtime loss on February 13 and 30 saves and 33 shots on Thursday, a 3-2 loss to the Florida Panthers in Sunrise.

Holtby got pulled in the Capitals’ game in Chicago last Thursday after two periods but it wasn’t his fault. He faced 33 shots through 40 minutes and stopped 27 in a 7-1 humbling at the hands of the Blackhawks.

Holtby’s save percentage had dragged down to a .909 and has a goals-against average of 2.95 due to his recent slump.

He will likely get a chance at redemption soon. The Capitals have a back-to-back against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday and the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday and will likely start one of those games. Holtby has had success against those opponents going 14-3-2 with a .918 save percentage and a 2.47 goals against average in his career against Columbus and 8-3-1 with a .932 save percentage and a 2.07 goals against average against Ottawa. In addition, he has won each of his starts against those opponents this season. Perhaps that will help.

Every goalie goes through a slump but it will be up to Holtby to break it just like he has done with previous slumps in his career.

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was seeing T.J. Oshie's hat-trick​ during Game 1 of the Caps' second round playoff series against Pittsburgh in 2016. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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2 Responses to Capitals Switch to Philipp Grubauer Against Buffalo Sabres  

  1. Pingback: News and Notes from Saturday’s Morning Skate at Kettler: A Different Look | NoVa Caps

  2. It’s about time all of you shook hands with the truth for a change and just admitted that Grubauer has fewer peaks and valleys in his performances than Holtby does and therefore merits a long look as the lead goalie on this team.

    I’m sick and tired of Joe Beninati, Alan May (who’s ordinarily doesn’t pull punches about any of the Caps’ players), Craig Laughlin, Tariq el Bashir and others consistently glossing over Braden’s fuck-ups instead of telling it straight.

    Braden squnts and focuses, and concentrates and lasers in and STILL lets pucks in on the short side of BOTH posts and even between his legs–especially against the stronger clubs in the league. But when the announcers talk about him I’d swear they were describing Glen Hall, Dominik Hasek, Ken Dryden or Martin Brodeur…HE ISN’T…and I wish his coach would sit him down for a few games like he does Andre Burakovsky and Jakub Vrana whenever THEY have mental lapses or else don’t play well…It couldn’t turn out any worse considering Braden’s horse sh*t save percentage and goals against average for the past seven weeks…

    Disgusted,

    Clifford,
    Santa Monica

    Liked by 1 person

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