Skip to main content
The Official Site of the Columbus Blue Jackets

CAPITALS REPORT: Grubauer in net again, Beagle barking to get back in

Trotz says goalie was 'fine,' in Game 1; veteran center, Beagle, preparing to play.

by Katie Brown /

ARLINGTON, Va. -- There won't be any changes in goal for the Washington Capitals in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference First Round.

Philipp Grubauer, who made 23 saves in Game 1, will remain between the pipes and Braden Holtby will back him up.

"I thought he was fine," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said of Grubauer. "There was nothing in that game that you'd say, why didn't you make a change? Philipp's been really good, and I thought in that game we had the game and we kept letting them off the floor."

Trotz decided to start Grubauer in the playoffs over Holtby, the Capitals' No.1 goalie. Holtby didn't have his best season, while Grubauer, through 35 regular-season games, posted a .923 save percentage and 2.35 goals against average. He didn't win his first game of the season until Nov. 24, but Grubauer has since been one of the NHL's top goalies.

Jay Beagle, a veteran fourth-line center, is possible to return to the lineup after missing the last three games of the regular season and Game 1 with an upper-body injury. He'll give the Capitals a boost on the penalty kill (playing the most shorthanded minutes of any Capitals forward) and faceoffs, especially defensive-zone draws, which he considers his specialty.

"I'm definitely hopeful of playing," Beagle said. "Like I said before, I'm preparing like I'm going to play. I'll leave it up to the coaching staff and the doctors and the medical staff to make the final call."

Beagle finished the season with a 58.5 faceoff percentage, which was fourth-best in the NHL. In Game 1, without Beagle, the Capitals lost 10 of 11 defensive zone draws. He's Washington's only right-handed center.

"He really adds a dimension with that right-handed shot in the circle," Blue Jackets center Mark Letestu said. "He takes a lot of important draws for them defensively, so they're certainly getting back a player that's pretty valuable to them. That being said, our guys are still going have to do a job there. Just because they get him back doesn't mean we start conceding draws, but it's [something] where he's got the reputation of being pretty strong and it makes their team better."

Top-four defenseman Michal Kempny, who left in the first period of Game 1 after he was boarded by Josh Anderson, will play in Game 2. He was sporting a couple stitches above his right eye and a few cuts on his face, but wanted to come back and play the rest of Game 1. 

Team doctors wouldn't allow it.

"Hockey is tough sport, and hits like that happen," Kempny said. "I just hit my face to the glass and that's it. You know, it is what it is."

T.J. Oshie took a maintenance day and did not skate in Washington's Saturday practice, but Trotz said he will be available for Game 2.

View More