After dropping Game 2 in overtime, the Washington Capitals had an off day on Monday. Before departed for Columbus, Ohio coach Barry Trotz held a conference call with reporters. One of the biggest ongoing topics in the final weeks of the regular season was who would start in goal? It looks like it has carried over into the playoffs and staring at an 0-2 series hole, deciding who gets between the pipes in these next two games will be vital to whether the team can keep the series alive or plan their summer vacations early.
Leading up to the series, Trotz went with Philipp Grubauer in Game 1. It looked to be a smart move at the time. While he did struggle early on in the season dropping his first six appearances, Grubauer posted a 15-5-2 record since his first win of the season in late November. In Game 1, Grubauer stopped 23-of-27 shots and let in both two even strength goals as well as two goals on the power play for an .852 save percentage.
Then the debates continued. There were fans saying Braden Holtby deserved a chance in the net despite him having one of his worst regular seasons of his career where he had career-low in save percentage (.907) and a career-high in goals-against average (2.99).
Trotz stuck with Grubauer for Game 2 and once again he allowed four goals, two at even strength and two on the power play. He stopped 18-of-22 shots. With the team trailing by one heading into the final period, Trotz put Holtby on the ice for the third period. There wasn’t a lot of life inside the building but as the Caps firing the puck at Sergei Bobrovsky, Holtby seemed confident in net every chance the Blue Jackets got a shot off in that period. Holtby stopped all five shots he faced that period and his play helped the Caps tie the game.
Unfortunately the team fell in overtime as Matt Calvert ripped one past Holtby though that was the only goal he allowed. He stopped seven of the eight shots he faced.
Trotz didn’t tell anybody who he was going to go with for Game 3, but he did say that he already made a decision. The team will take off for Columbus this afternoon and Trotz will tell his goalies on the plane what his decision will be.
Trotz says he’s decided on a Game 3 goalie but wants to tell Holtby and Grubauer at the plane first.
Smart money is on Holtby, of course.
— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) April 16, 2018
By Michael Marzzacco