Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images
Capitals’ coach Barry Trotz told reporters on Saturday morning during the team’s practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex that Philipp Grubauer will start Game 2 against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday night at Capital One Arena. The game will be at 7:30 PM on NBC Sports Network and NBC Sports Washington.
The Capitals trail the series 1-0 after losing 4-3 in overtime in Game 1 on Thursday night at Capital One Arena despite leading 2-0 after the first period and 3-2 in the final five minutes. Grubauer made 23 saves on 27 shots in his second career postseason start and had 19 saves on 21 even strength shots. He will make his second consecutive postseason starts after Braden Holtby started 37 consecutive playoff games for the Capitals.
Grubauer came into the playoffs arguably the best goalie in the NHL since Thanksgiving, leading the league with a .937 save percentage and a 1.93 goals against average. He was 15-5-2 in that span. For the season, Grubauer went 15-10-3 with a .923 save percentage and a 2.35 goals against average.
— Tarik El-Bashir⌨🎙🏒 (@TarikNBCS) April 14, 2018
Grubauer started in 10 of the Capitals’ final 16 games after Braden Holtby went through the worst stretch of his career. Holtby was 0-4-2 during a six-game losing streak with just a .851 save percentage from February 11-26. Holtby’s 0.931 postseason save percentage is second among all goaltenders in NHL history but had a .909 save percentage in 13 playoff starts last season. In 54 games this season, Holtby went 34-16-4 with a 2.99 goals against average and a .909 save percentage, the worst numbers of his career.
Trotz also said that forward T.J. Oshie will be on the ice tomorrow after taking a maintenance day on Saturday and center Jay Beagle is “possible to play.” Beagle has been out since April 1 with an upper-body injury. Center Travis Boyd was back on the ice today after missing the whole week with an illness and defenseman Michal Kempny will play after leaving Game 1 with an upper-body injury. Kempny left the game after he was hit into the boards by Blue Jackets’ forward Josh Anderson and did not return. Anderson was given a game misconduct but not a suspension.
The Capitals will look to tie the series before heading to Columbus for Games 3 and 4 on Tuesday on Thursday.
By Harrison Brown