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Holtby 'nicked up,' expected to play Game 4

Capitals goalie leaves practice early after collision; Washington can sweep Flyers on Wednesday

by Katie Brown / Correspondent

PHILADELPHIA -- Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby left practice at Wells Fargo Center after a collision with a teammate, but coach Barry Trotz expects him to play Wednesday in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference First round series against the Philadelphia Flyers (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports, CSN-PH, CSN-DC). 

The Capitals lead 3-0 and have a chance to sweep a best-of-7 series for the first time in franchise history. Holtby stopped 91 of 93 shots he faced in the first three games.

Trotz initially refrained from revealing if Holtby would be able to start. "Basically, he just got nicked up a little bit, went off and we'll see where he is tomorrow," Trotz said. Later he said he expected Holtby to play.

Trotz also said there was no need for the Capitals to call up another goaltender in case Holtby can't play.

"If something is [necessary] we will, but I don't have any plans to do it," Trotz said.

Holtby was not available for comment after practice. After receiving treatment, he walked through the locker room smiling. Redness on and below his left knee indicated he had been icing his leg.

Video: WSH@PHI, Gm3: : Holtby flashes the leather

After the collision, which knocked away his stick, Holtby bent over in the right corner and flexed his left knee multiple times. Holtby returned to face a couple more shots, but kept flexing his knee. He eventually went over to the bench to talk to a trainer before heading to the locker room.

The Capitals finished practice without him.

"When he came out, he told Mitch [goalie coach Mitch Korn], 'Hey, I've got to pop out of here for a second,'" Trotz said.

If called upon, backup Philipp Grubauer has playoff experience. Last year in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference First Round, Grubauer started when Holtby was sick and Washington to a 4-3 victory against the New York Islanders.

Trotz confirmed Brooks Orpik won't play Wednesday after the defenseman left Game 3 on Monday with an upper-body injury sustained on a hit from Philadelphia's Ryan White.

"Brooks Orpik won't play tomorrow and we'll just monitor him day to day," Trotz said.

Orpik's absence means a tougher workload for Matt Niskanen, Karl Alzner and John Carlson, who are already playing heavy minutes.

"We just have to play strong, tough, physical and responsible," Alzner said. "I mean, that's what he [Orpik] does every time he's out there, so that's how we'll have to do it. Guys have done it for big chunks already of the season, so obviously, a huge piece of the team, but we have a lot of depth, I think."

Video: WSH@PHI, Gm3: Holtby denies Giroux, keeps Caps on top

Nate Schmidt moved into the top four defense pairings during the regular season when Orpik missed 41 games with a lower-body injury. If he moves up, Mike Weber or Taylor Chorney could dress for Game 4.

"Anytime you lose a guy like Brooks Orpik, with his experience, he's been through the grind before, it's tough," Chorney said. "You can probably say I don't think anybody's going to go in there and do what he does. But at the same time, we've kind of been through it this year. He spent some time where he was hurt earlier in the year, and we had guys step up. I think as a group we're all confident no matter who's in there that we can go in and get the job done." 

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