Story highlights: Philipp Grubauer states that he will start in goal for the Washington Capitals in Game 1 of their first-round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
By Bill Sands
The battle for the crease in Washington has been a heated one during the second half of the season, and things took another interesting turn on Tuesday morning when Philipp Grubauer announced that he would be starting in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Philipp Grubauer will start Game One against the Columbus Blue Jackets https://t.co/3l0UPUTtH6
— RMNB (@russianmachine) April 10, 2018
Trotz Teases Reporters
The news comes just one day after Barry Trotz teased reporters by cryptically saying he’d chosen his goalie, but had yet to inform anyone. The suspense was short-lived, and now Caps fans (and the players themselves) know that it will be Grubauer and not Braden Holtby who will be between the pipes on Thursday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets. It’s a bold move by Trotz, but the Stanley Cup playoffs require boldness and tenacity.
Holtby burst onto the scene in 2012 and has held the starter’s job since then, winning a Vezina Trophy in 2016. as the league’s best netminder. Despite this, the Caps could never make it past the second round of the playoffs – and lost two postseasons in a row to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Good Year For Grubauer; Not So Good For Holtby
While Holtby has had a rough season (he’s posted career-worst GAA and save percentage totals), Grubauer has thrived and finished the regular NHL season in sixth place with a GAA of 2.35 (Holtby ended with 2.99). Additionally, in his past 27 appearances, Grubauer has a .937 save percentage and a 1.93 goals against average with three shutouts. In March and April, he had 10 starts and came away with a 7-3 record.
This is a well-deserved nod for Grubauer, and many fans are hoping this can be the push the Caps need to finally get over the hump and make it to the Conference Finals and beyond. Even better for Capitals fans: they have a world-class goalie in Holtby in the wings … just in case.