Trotz sticking with Grubauer in Caps’ goal
Coach reluctant to make change to Holtby for Game 2 vs. Jackets
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.