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Barry Trotz does not commit to Philipp Grubauer as the starter for Game 2

Barry Trotz does not commit to Philipp Grubauer as the starter for Game 2

Philipp Grubauer's play down the stretch of the regular season earned him the start in Game 1 of the Capitals' playoff series against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

It remains to be seen, however, if his play earned the start in Game 2.

Grubauer gave up four goals on 27 shots in the Capitals' 4-3 overtime loss in Game 1 on Thursday. Following the loss, head coach Barry Trotz would not commit to Grubauer as the starter for Sunday's Game 2.

"Philipp's body of work was good," Trotz said.


"I thought he was fine. We'll sit down, we'll reevaluate all the goals, we'll reevaluate our team and where we're at and we'll go from there."

Grubauer started the season as the backup behind Braden Holtby, but outplayed the 2016 Vezina Trophy winner in the final weeks of the season to earn the Game 1 start.

Trotz's answer appears to at least leave the door open for a possible goalie change in Game 2.

Prior to Thursday's game, Holtby had started in all but one of the Capitals' playoff games since 2012 and currently boasts the second-best playoff save percentage (.931) in NHL history.

Game 2 takes place at Capital One Arena on Sunday, April 15 at 7:30 p.m. and can be watched on NBC Sports Washington. 


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NHL Power Rankings: Coming in hot


NHL Power Rankings: Coming in hot

Among the dozens of theories people have when trying to explain Washington's playoff struggles, one theory is that the team has never gotten hot at the right time. This was especially true in the past two seasons. The Caps won the Presidents' Trophy both years and by a fairly wide margin meaning that in the last few days and weeks, there was not a whole lot to play for. Instead of peaking, the Caps were on cruise control.

This year, that is not the case.


Washington did not actually clinch a playoff berth until March 29 or the division until April 1. There was still a lot to play for in the final month and the Capitals played arguably their best hockey of the season, winning 12 of their last 15 games. They managed to do so while, for the most part, rotating between goalies Braden Holtby and Philipp Grubauer and they also avoided any major injuries. The only injury on the roster is Jay Beagle and, as of Saturday, Barry Trotz believed Beagle would be ready for the start of the playoffs.

Washington did not win the Presidents' Trophy this season. They did not finish atop the conference standings and their roster does not look as deep as in previous years. But you could actually argue that this year's team is better prepared heading into the playoffs. It's not so much because they have won 12 of 15—the Caps won 11 of their last 15 heading into the postseason last year—but the fact that they were faced with meaningful games late in the season and elevated their game.

Given their late-season surge, where do the Caps stack up against the rest of the competition? Find out here in the end of season NHL Power Rankings.

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NHL Power Rankings: The home stretch

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NHL Power Rankings: The home stretch

We are down to the home stretch. Only 10 games remain in the Capitals' regular season. Those 10 games will ultimately decide if the Caps finish in first place in the Metropolitan Division and who they will play in the first round of the playoffs.

Washington currently sits in first place in the division, two points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins and four points ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers. Of those 10 remaining games, only three come against teams currently in playoff position. The most critical of these comes on April 1 when the Caps travel to Pittsburgh in a game that could ultimately decide the division.

The Caps still hold a narrow lead in the standings, but where do they stand in the rankings? See this week's updated NHL Power Rankings here.