Trotz stick­ing with Grubauer in Caps’ goal

Coach re­luc­tant to make change to Holtby for Game 2 vs. Jack­ets

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - SPORTS - By Stephen Whyno

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By stick­ing with Philipp Grubauer in net for Game 2, the Wash­ing­ton Cap­i­tals are tak­ing a page from the Philadel­phia Fly­ers’ most re­cent goal­tend­ing de­ci­sion.

Of course, it was an en­tirely dif­fer­ent book af­ter the Pittsburgh Pen­guins chased Brian El­liott in a 7-0 drub­bing in the first game of their se­ries. Grubauer was hardly to blame for al­low­ing four goals on 27 shots in an undis­ci­plined Game 1 over­time loss to the Colum­bus Blue Jack­ets.

But af­ter El­liott re­bounded to val­i­date coach Dave Hak­stol’s de­ci­sion to go back to him, and Philadel­phia tied the Bat­tle of Penn­syl­va­nia at a game apiece, Wash­ing­ton’s Barry Trotz didn’t hes­i­tate in go­ing back to Grubauer in a cru­cial spot in­stead of switch­ing to Braden Holtby.

“There was noth­ing in that game that you’d say, why you would make a change?” Trotz said. “Philipp’s been re­ally good. So, we’ll go back with Grubi; I’ve got a lot of con­fi­dence in him, and we’ll be ready.”

Grubauer, who started just his second NHL play­off game Thurs­day, is stay­ing in the mo­ment so much he’s ex­pect­ing to start un­til Trotz tells him oth­er­wise. Wash­ing­ton’s coach deemed it a ga­meto-game de­ci­sion, so even though Grubauer wasn’t bad, ad­just­ments are nec­es­sary with the 2016 Vez­ina Tro­phy win­ner ready at a mo­ment’s notice.

“You just look at the tape, I made some ad­just­ments and worked on it to­day in prac­tice,” Grubauer said.

Coun­ter­part Sergei Bo­brovsky has spent count­less hours at prac­tice try­ing to sharpen his game for the playoffs af­ter strug­gling in three pre­vi­ous ap­pear­ances. Bo­brovsky stopped 27 of 30 shots in Game 1 against the Cap­i­tals and gives Colum­bus some high-level con­sis­tency in net that few play­off teams can count on.

“We’re just happy to see Bob play like Bob,” cap­tain Nick Foligno said. “We don’t need him to be the su­per­star. It’s just that’s his ca­pa­bil­i­ties.”

Goal­tend­ing could make all the dif­fer­ence for the Fly­ers against the Pen­guins and the Cap­i­tals against the Blue Jack­ets. But the two teams go­ing into to­day down 2-0 in their se­ries are get­ting in­cred­i­ble play at the po­si­tion and are still in trou­ble. In the West­ern Con­fer­ence, Min­nesota’s De­van Dub­nyk al­most stole Game 1 for the over­matched Wild against the pow­er­house Win­nipeg Jets, and Los An­ge­les’ Jonathan Quick has stopped 81 of 84 shots and lost twice to the Ve­gas Golden Knights.

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