Braden Holtby vs. Philipp Grubauer In Goal; Avalanche Place Andre Burakovsky On PP1 Against Former Team, Evgeny Kuznetsov Skates After Morning Skate: Capitals at Avalanche Pregame Notebook

Samantha Pell:WaPoPhoto: Samantha Pell/WaPo

Goaltender Braden Holtby will start in net for the third time in four games when the Washington Capitals visit the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on Thursday night (9:30 PM ET, NBC Sports Washington locally or NBCSN nationally). He will go up against former teammate Philipp Grubauer, who will start for the Avalanche. The 30-year old was pulled in the Capitals’ 6-3 loss to the Avalanche on October 14 after letting three goals in on as many shots in the first period.

Center Lars Eller will step in for Evgeny Kuznetsov, who is day-to-day with an upper-body injury that he suffered in the Capitals’ 5-3 loss to the New York Islanders on Monday and will not play against the Avalanche tonight, in the top-six. Center Travis Boyd will draw in and play in Eller’s regular spot.

Kuznetsov skated for the first time since he got injured after the Capitals concluded their morning skate. Head coach Todd Reirden said that he will continue to be evaluated daily.

The Avalanche swapped forward Joonas Donskoi in favor of forward Andre Burakovsky, who was traded by the Capitals to the Avalanche on June 28, on the first power-play unit to try to get it rolling.

Center Nazem Kadri, who is out week-to-week with a lower-body injury that was suffered against the Wild on Sunday, was spotted in the arena on crutches.

The Avalanche recalled defenseman Mark Barberio from the AHL’s Colorado Eagles prior to the game but he will not be in the lineup tonight.

Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar said the team will not make any line changes from their last game, a 3-0 win over the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday.

Burakovsky, who has already tied his career-high in goals (17) and set a career-high in points (41) in 52 games this season, discussed his breakout year in Colorado with The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir.

Capitals’ Lines at Avalanche

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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 watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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1 Response to Braden Holtby vs. Philipp Grubauer In Goal; Avalanche Place Andre Burakovsky On PP1 Against Former Team, Evgeny Kuznetsov Skates After Morning Skate: Capitals at Avalanche Pregame Notebook

  1. Clifford Keefe says:

    Andre said that if he could “put a finger on what it is” (that could be accounted for his success in an Avalanche uniform), he would have done it in Washington…He cited the fact that he was “shooting more”, getting a lot more ice time–the obvious things, certainly.

    But he also said something revealing–namely that in Colorado he feels like he “can make a mistake” and still play….That was something that wasn’t true for Andre under either Barry Trotz or Tom Rierden. If he turned the puck over or got skated off the puck he knew he’d get penalized for it with reduced PT. And since, evidently, he’s a very sensitive kid–seeing a sports psychologist to help him cope with the stress of not performing the way the coaching staff and fans in Washington wanted—things tended to snowball on him and he eventually requested a trade…

    I get the Mountain Sports feed out of Colorado and Burakovsky has played really well. Joe Sakic and the coaches like him a lot…the announcers fall all over themselves over how “beautiful” his goals are–dumbfounded that someone with his wrist shot could be such a relative unknown–and (agreeably) surprised how often he snaps the puck past goalies even when they aren’t screened. All of his 17 goals have come at even strength–and he’s missed four games to injury.

    He’s also back checked well in Colorado–better and more willingly than I recall him doing when he was here..I guess that comes with playing time, increased confidence, and knowing that his teammates and coaches have enough faith in him to let him play through mistakes.

    We’ll see if he can sustain what he’s started for an entire season…Barring injury I’m betting he will…

    Sta. Monica

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