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Capitals goalie Holtby likely to play despite illness

by Katie Brown

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby is expected to start in goal Friday in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the New York Islanders (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports 2, MSG+, CSN-DC), Capitals coach Barry Trotz said.

Holtby, who has been battling an illness since prior to Game 1, sat out of Washington's optional practice Thursday and the morning skate Friday. His official status will be decided after the pregame warm-up.

"We'll have to get him in warm-up and go from there," Trotz said. "I've had players that you didn't think they were going to play and they have incredible games. The mind is a pretty good thing."

Goaltender Philipp Grubauer was recalled Friday from Hershey of the American Hockey League as a precautionary measure in the event Holtby isn't able to play, and he participated in Washington's morning skate.

Grubauer, 23, has played in 20 games for Washington. His only start for the Capitals this season was Feb. 6, a 23-save shootout win against the Anaheim Ducks.

He could make his Stanley Cup Playoff debut if Holtby is unable to play.

"Exciting to be here, be part of the team again, be in this playoff run," Grubauer said. "I've never been part of this [the] last couple years. Actually practicing with the team once is really nice."

Forward Tom Wilson confirmed he has been cleared medically and will play in the fourth Stanley Cup Playoff game of his career. Wilson played in three games of Washington's first-round series against the New York Rangers in 2013.

"You play the whole season to get ready for the playoffs and we feel like we're ready and we have a plan," Wilson said. "I'm expecting the guys will be coming out flying tonight."

Wilson was injured April 5 while blocking a shot against the Detroit Red Wings. Trotz said he is confident Wilson's return will boost the intensity of the series.

"He'll give us a big body down low, physicality and some net-front presence," Trotz said. "Those are things that we look for [Wilson] to do on a nightly basis."


Here are the projected lineups:


Nikolay Kulemin - John Tavares - Ryan Strome

Josh Bailey - Frans Nielsen - Kyle Okposo

Anders Lee - Brock Nelson - Michael Grabner

Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck

Nick Leddy - Johnny Boychuk

Calvin de Haan - Brian Strait

Thomas Hickey - Lubomir Visnovsky

Jaroslav Halak

Michal Neuvirth

Scratched: Colin McDonald, Eric Boulton, Matt Donovan, Griffin Reinhart, Tyler Kennedy

Injured: Mikhail Grabovski (upper body), Travis Hamonic (undisclosed)


Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Joel Ward

Marcus Johansson - Nicklas Backstrom - Troy Brouwer

Jason Chimera - Eric Fehr - Jay Beagle

Curtis Glencross - Brooks Laich - Tom Wilson

Brooks Orpik - John Carlson

Matt Niskanen - Karl Alzner

Mike Green - Tim Gleason

Braden Holtby

Justin Peters

Scratched: Andre Burakovsky, Michael Latta, Philipp Grubauer

Injured: Dmitry Orlov (wrist), John Erskine (neck surgery)

Status report: Orlov participated in Washington's morning skate Friday but there is no update as to when he could be back in the lineup.

Who's hot: Johansson scored his fifth career playoff goal in Game 1 against the Islanders. … Orpik led all skaters with nine hits Wednesday. … Ovechkin had eight shots on goal in Game 1, marking the 10th time in his NHL career he has had eight or more shots on goal in a playoff game.

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