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Peters facing uphill climb to make Capitals


Peters facing uphill climb to make Capitals

One way or the other, the Capitals are going to pay Justin Peters $950,000 and Philipp Grubauer $650,000 to play hockey for the next eight months. With both goaltenders signed to one-way contracts, the big question heading into the 2015-16 season is which one will back up Braden Holtby, and which one will be the starter in Hershey.

“Grubauer’s an unproven,” Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said. “He’s done well at the American League level and played a couple good games up top.

“Justin had a tough year, where he didn’t get used as much because of the work load that Braden had. I think we’re probably a little insecure with both. Justin should bounce back and we’ll get to see what Grubauer can do in training camp.”

Grubauer, 23, played well enough last season (27-17-2 for the Bears, 2-0-0 for the Caps) to earn a two-year one-way contract that pays him $650,000 this season and $850,000 next season for a $750,000 cap hit.

Since both goalies would need to pass through waivers before an assignment to AHL Hershey, and since Grubauer likely would be claimed by another NHL team, Peters, who played in just 12 games for the Caps last season and went 3-6-1, finds himself in a tenuous situation.

“Like every year I’m trying to make the hockey team,” Peters, 29, said. “I’ve come to a lot of training camps over the years and every year you come in with the same mindset. If certain people have a slot where they think you are, you try to prove them wrong, just like any other year.”

A six-year veteran, last season was a trying one for Peters. He played in seven of the Caps’ first 23 games, but won just two of them and didn’t see the net again for 21 straight games. In fact, from Deb. 17 through the end of the regular season, Peters received just one start for the Capitals.

“Obviously, Holtby had an awesome year and it was fun to be a part of that and help him along and we had a lot of team success and that was a lot of fun to be a part of,” Peters said. “Obviously, I didn’t play as much as I wanted. I didn’t play as good as I wanted. But know I’m healthy, I’m fresh and I’m ready to move forward.”

Peters spent the first half of this summer trying to rehab a knee injury, but when it gave him trouble when he began practicing, he opted for arthroscopic surgery on Aug. 10. Peters said the late surgery put him “a little behind the 8-ball” with his training, but he’s excited to get into preseason action. His first could come Tuesday night in Boston and Capitals coach Barry Trotz says he’ll be watching closely.

“From a coach’s standpoint, all we have to ask is, Who’s the best goalie?” Trotz said. “We’ll probably have to rank them. It may depend on the salary cap. It may be a business decision.”

If Peters is the goalie sent to Hershey, his $950,000 will come off the books, giving the Caps roughly $1.2 million of cap space to sign free-agent center Derek Roy or take on another NHL player salary in a trade.

“We’re getting Holtby ready (for the regular season),” Trotz said. “He’ll get the majority of the minutes. But the minutes that are remaining, those two guys (Peters and Grubauer) will get the majority of those minutes (in the preseason).”

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Stanley Cup Playoffs 2018 projection: Still too close to call in the Metropolitan Division


Stanley Cup Playoffs 2018 projection: Still too close to call in the Metropolitan Division

The Stanley Cup Playoffs are right around the corner and there is still a lot to be decided.

The Metropolitan Division is going to come right down to the wire as each team seemingly continues to win and put the pressure on the first place Capitals.

With just over two weeks remaining in the regular season, the playoff matchups for the first round of the NHL playoffs are still up in the air with only five points separating the top four teams in the Metro. Washington is in good position with a four-point cushion between themselves and the second place Pittsburgh Penguins. With both teams meeting on April 1, however, the Caps are still a long way off from clinching the division and earning home ice in the first round.


Metropolitan Division
1. Washington (93 points, 74 GP, 40 ROW)
W1. Philadelphia (88 points, 75 GP, 36 ROW)

2. Pittsburgh (89 points, 74 GP, 40 ROW)
3. Columbus (89 points, 75 GP, 36 ROW)

Atlantic Division
1. Tampa Bay (106 points, 74 GP, 45 ROW)
W2. New Jersey (82 points, 73 GP, 32 ROW)

2. Boston (100 points, 72 GP, 42 ROW)
3. Toronto (95 points, 74 GP, 37 ROW)

Still in the hunt:
Florida (81points, 72 GP, 34 ROW)


Washington has won only one out of four games against the Philadelphia Flyers this season. That's not an ideal first-round matchup for Washington, but there is still time for the Flyers to climb and overtake Columbus or Pittsburgh in the standings..

What seems unlikely to happen is for New Jersey or Florida to pass Philadelphia. While things remain close near the top of the standings, there seems to be a growing divide between the top-four teams in the Metropolitan Division and the two teams battling for the final remaining spot in the playoffs.

The Flyers may be in fourth place in the division, but they still boast a healthy six-point lead over the Devils who sit in the second wild card.

If we assume New Jersey and Florida will not be able to climb to any postseason position, but the second wild card, that makes the three most likely candidates to face Washington in the first round Pittsburgh, Columbus and Philadelphia.

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3 reasons the Caps beat the Red Wings

3 reasons the Caps beat the Red Wings

Not much separated the Washington Capitals and the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday. A late 2-on-0 goal for Brett Connolly proved to be the difference.

Here's why the Caps ultimately walked away with the 1-0 win.

A first period goalie interference call

Andreas Athanasiou thought he had given the Red Wings a first period lead, but Barry Trotz challenged the call for goalie interference. The review showed that Tyler Bertuzzi clipped Philipp Grubauer in the head with an elbow right before the shot went in. Given how long it took the Caps to get going in this game, it is fair to say an early deficit would have been hard to overcome.


Killing off a full two-minute 5-on-3

Two man advantages are hard to kill. Killing off a full two-minutes at 5-on-3, that's a tall task. With the game still scoreless in the second period, T.J. Oshie and Lars Eller were both assessed penalties giving Detroit two-full minutes at 5-on-3. The Red Wings managed four shots on goal, but Washington was able to successfully kill off the penalty and keep the game scoreless.

Philipp Grubauer

There were few players who had strong efforts on Tuesday, but Grubauer was phenomenal. Even when the game felt sleepy in the first two periods, Detroit still managed 28 shots on goal, all of which were turned aside by the German netminder. When Washington finally took the lead in the third, the Red Wings woke up and began pushing the offense, but Grubauer was in the zone at that point and could not be beaten. His best save came in the third period when he stared down a breakaway from Athanasiou and extended the pad to deny the shot.