Braden Holtby started the third period of Game 2 on Sunday after Philipp Grubauer allowed four goals to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Now the question is whether Barry Trotz will stick with Holtby for the start of Game 3 or go back to Grubauer.
When asked after Game 2 if Holtby would start the next game, Trotz declined the answer. In a conference call with the media on Monday, Trotz said he had decided who would start Game 3, but was not ready to reveal it to the media until he talked with the goalies.
Grubauer was critical of his own performance in Game 2, especially for letting in an innocent looking wrister from Zach Werenski at the blue line.
“I don’t think I played that good," Grubauer said. "The last one was on me."
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Trotz was not critical of Grubauer following the game, but he did lament that the team was not able to get a big save when it needed it from the German netminder.
"We just needed that one save, and we weren't able to get it," Trotz said. "Grubi's been fantastic for us — this is not on our goaltending, this is on the whole group, everybody. We win and lose as a group, and we've got to go forward. I put [Holtby] in there, and we'll see where we go from there."
Trotz reiterated Monday that he still has confidence in both netminders, but with a Vezina trophy winning goalie on the bench, it is certainly fair to wonder if Trotz will make the switch for Game 3.
Holtby saved seven of the eight shots he faced after coming in for Grubauer in Game 2. For the majority of the season, he was the Caps' unquestioned starter, but a significant slump in February and March opened the door for Grubauer to take the starting job for the playoffs.
Now with the team in need of a spark, Trotz very well could turn to Holtby in the hopes he can outduel Sergei Bobrovsky and keep the Caps' playoff hopes alive.