News and Notes from Monday’s Capitals Morning Skate at MSG: Update on Braden Holtby and a Chance at a Career-High for Philipp Grubauer

DZOfMFyVwAAKn_F.jpg-largePhoto: @Capitals

The Washington Capitals conclude their three-city “original six” road trip by kicking off a home-and-home series with the New York Rangers on Monday night. After the game, the teams will head back to D.C. and meet again on Wednesday night. Prior to Monday’s contest, the Capitals held a morning skate at Madison Square Garden. Here are the news and the notes from the Big Apple. 

Here is how the lines looked at morning skate:

Ovechkin Kuznetsov-Wilson
Starter’s Net: Philipp Grubauer

Scratches: Christian Djoos, Devante Smith-Pelly, Shane Gersich

Pheonix Copley wasn’t at the morning skate and was re-assinged to the Hershey Bears. Braden Holtby (tweak in lower-body) was practicing and looked ready to serve as a backup goaltender for tonight’s game.

Philipp Grubauer was in the starter’s net so he’ll get the nod tonight against the Rangers. Grubauer will go for his 14th win of the season tonight, which would be a career-high. He is 2-2-1 lifetime against the Rangers with a 1.69 goals-against average and a .949 save percentage. The last time he faced New York came on Dec. 27 where he made 37 saves. The effort was still considered a shutout for Grubauer even though the Caps fell to the Rangers 1-0 in the shootout. There were no changes to the forward lines or defensive pairs

Here were the Rangers forward lines at their morning skate:





  • Washington is 101-90-18-6 all-time against the New York Rangers and 46-50-9-2 all-time at Madison Square Garden.
  • Barry Trotz recorded his 200th career win with the Capitals and is now two wins shy of passing Bruce Boudreau for the second-most wins by a coach in franchise history.
  • Nicklas Backstrom is one point shy of passing Mike Gartner (789) for third on the franchise points list.
  • Backstrom recorded four assists against the Montreal Canadiens on March 24. That marked his second four-point game of the season and his first four assist game.
  • Evgeny Kuznetsov returned on March 24 against the Canadiens after missing three games due to an upper body injury and scored two goals. His two goal effort marked his 20th multi-point game of the season, which is tied for 18th in the NHL.
  • Alex Ovechkin has recorded 46 points (29 goals, 17 assists) in 50 career games against the Rangers and has scored a goal in five of his last 10 games against New York (6 goals).
  • Ovechkin has scored 22 career goals against Henrik Lundqvist, tied for the most goals he has scored against a goaltender in his career (Kari Lehtonen).
  • Backstrom has 33 points (9 goals, 24 assists) in 41 career games against the Rangers.


By Michael Marzzacco

About Michael Marzzacco

Michael is an avid DC sports fan with a passion for writing. He has followed the Washington Capitals since the 2003-04 season, around the time his enthusiasm for DC teams really began. It was from the days when they had the worst record in the league to when they became the most exciting team in the area. His Dad took him to his first Caps game a couple of years later. One of his favorite memories was being in the stands during the 2015 Winter Classic where Troy Brouwer scored the game-winning goal with 12 seconds left. Michael graduated from Radford University in May 2016, earning a degree in journalism and focusing on sports journalism and broadcasting. His goal is to work in sports media in Washington, D.C.
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