Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby will need to wait a couple more days before resuming his pursuit of the NHL’s single-season wins record.
Head coach Barry Trotz said backup goaltender Philipp Grubauer will get the start tonight against the St. Louis Blues (6:30 p.m. Pregame Live, CSN), while right winger T.J. Oshie will miss his second straight game with flu-like symptoms.
Here are our AAA Keys to the Game:
Oshie update: Trotz said the plan is for Oshie to skate on Easter Sunday and “flush some of that out of his system.” Trotz said Oshie did not report to Verizon Center “so that he doesn’t get anybody else sick” and that he hopes Oshie will be cleared to play on Monday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Oshie would have been facing his former team for the first time since being traded from St. Louis to Washington in a summer trade that sent Troy Brouwer to the Blues.
“You always want to play your old team. The good thing is we play them one more time a little more than a week from now (April 9 in St. Louis) and he’ll get that opportunity. Today it will be Brouw’s night.”
Trotz said Brouwer left a “big footprint” in Washington and was “outstanding” both on and off the ice.
Between the pipes: Grubauer (8-6-1, 2.19 GAA, .924) has not started since March 12. He’ll face Blues backup Jake Allen (24-14-3, 2.42, .917). That means Brian Elliott, who has three consecutive shutouts, will get the night off.
No resting: Trotz said he will not sit any of his players out to give them a rest, saying unless they are injured they will play. Trotz said he spoke with Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen about players in Pittsburgh being rested down the stretch and was told players lost their rhythm and were adversely affected in the playoffs.
Facing Hitch: Tonight’s game features two of the NHL’s winningest coaches. Blues coach Ken Hitchcock ranks fourth all-time with 752 victories, while Trotz ranks ninth with 655. Trotz said Hitchcock’s teams are always disciplined, structured, physical and competitive.
“Hitch is a great hockey guy,” Trotz said. “We’re friends and I’ve learned a lot over the years from Hitch by coaching against him and talking with him.”
Here are projected lineups:
Philipp Grubauer (starter) - Braden Holtby
Injured: T.J., Oshie (flu)
Jake Allen (starter) - Brian Elliott