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Round 1

Grubauer will stay in goal for Capitals against Blue Jackets in Game 2

Goaltender, Washington trying to even series after overtime loss in opener

by Brian McNally / Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Philipp Grubauer will remain the starting goaltender for the Washington Capitals when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Capital One Arena on Sunday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN360, TVAS2, NBCSWA, FS-O).

Grubauer made 23 saves on 27 shots in a 4-3 overtime loss in Game 1 of the best-of-7 series Thursday.

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


[RELATED: Complete Capitals vs. Blue Jackets series coverage]


The Capitals lost after leading 2-0 in the first period and taking a 3-2, third-period lead on a goal by forward Devante Smith-Pelly at 5:12. Columbus defenseman Seth Jones tied the game 3-3 at 15:34 and forward Artemi Panarin scored at 6:02 of overtime with a world-class shot off the rush.

Grubauer was named the Game 1 starter instead of Braden Holtby, who had begun every playoff series for Washington since 2012. Grubauer had a 2.06 goals-against average and .933 save percentage in 31 games since Oct. 27, each the best in the NHL among goaltenders with at least 18 games.

"We just work in practice," Grubauer said. "I'm not guessing. I'm not like planning my day around it just to wait on the decision."

Two of the goals scored against Grubauer were on the power play, including the tying goal by Jones, and there was little the goalie could have done to prevent Panarin's highlight-reel goal. All Grubauer can do now is make adjustments.

Video: CBJ@WSH, Gm1: Grubauer fights through screen for save

"They changed up their game a little bit and did some different stuff," Grubauer said. "It's really important in Game 1, you look at the tape and you make sure what you can do system-wise, what can you improve on, where can we maybe get the advantage."

Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny returned to practice Saturday and said he will play in Game 2; he left Game 1 when he sustained an upper-body injury when boarded by Columbus forward Josh Anderson at 17:23 of the first period. Kempny has a swollen right eye and cheek, a cut nose and stitches in his right eyebrow.

Washington also is likely to get fourth-line center Jay Beagle (upper body) back in the lineup. Beagle, who has not played since April 1, was fourth in the NHL in face-off win percentage among qualified players during the regular season (58.5 percent).

Forward T.J. Oshie did not practice, taking a maintenance day, according to the Capitals, but is expected to be in the lineup for Game 2.  Center Travis Boyd (illness) returned to practice for the first time since April 5.

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