BOSTON—Braden Holtby will start on Sunday when the Panthers visit Verizon Center, Coach Barry Trotz said.
It’s the regular season finale for both teams.
On Saturday, Holtby gave way to Philipp Grubauer, who got the nod vs. the Bruins in a battle of the backups. Boston went with No. 2 netminder Anton Khudobin instead of starter Tuukka Rask.
Trotz said the decision to start Holtby on Sunday was part of the plan all along since it would reduce Holtby’s layoff between the regular season and the playoffs, which could begin Thursday in Washington.
Holtby has backed up Grubauer in three of the Caps’ last six games.
Holtby’s 42 wins this season are the second most in franchise history behind the 48 games he won a year ago.
When he takes the ice against Florida, he’ll be making his 63rd start of the season—three fewer than last year and nine fewer than 2014-15. Holtby has also faced 127 fewer shots this year. Although his shot total will increase on Sunday, he'll still finish well behind last season's workload.
“We looked at our schedule the last month and mapped it out,” said Trotz, who had hoped to reduce the wear and tear on Holtby this season. “It played out the way we thought it might.”
Grubauer, meanwhile, will finish with a career-high 19 starts—three more than last year.