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Capitals pull Braden Holtby from Game 2 loss to Penguins

Allows three goals on nine shots in second period, 'just wasn't our night'

by Katie Brown / NHL.com Correspondent

WASHINGTON -- At the start of the third period of Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Second Round on Saturday, goalie Philipp Grubauer led the Washington Capitals onto the ice.

Starter Braden Holtby watched the rest of the game from the bench.

Washington trailed the Pittsburgh Penguins and Capitals coach Barry Trotz felt they needed a shakeup.

"We just had to change sort of the mojo in that situation," Trotz said.

 

[RELATED: Complete Capitals vs. Penguins series coverage]

 

Washington dominated the first period, outshooting Pittsburgh 16-5, but couldn't score. Holtby allowed three goals on nine shots in the second, including a shorthanded goal by Matt Cullen.

The Penguins won 6-2 to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 series that continues Tuesday with Game 3 in Pittsburgh.

"The playoffs are made of big moments," Holtby said. "That third goal, that's a big moment. That's where your goalie needs to come up with a save and I just didn't. Obviously, I was frustrated that I didn't do that. But at the same time, we were still confident in ourselves going into the third. But it just wasn't our night and we're going to move on."

Video: PIT@WSH, Gm 2: Trotz addresses the media after loss

Trotz said he didn't pull Holtby because of poor play, though he conceded Holtby wasn't as sharp as he could have been on several shots.

"Braden's our backbone, he has been all year," Trotz said. "We've got to find some goals for him too. We just can't just put it on Braden Holtby."

Holtby was pulled four times during the regular season but responded well in the starts that followed those games.

He was pulled Jan. 6 for allowing three goals on eight shots to the Toronto Maple Leafs and had two consecutive shutouts after that. After he was pulled Jan. 16 from an 8-7 overtime loss to the Penguins, he won his next eight starts. On March 6, he allowed three goals on 11 shots to the Dallas Stars and then went 6-3-1 in his next 10 starts. He was pulled for one period in a 6-3 loss to the Arizona Coyotes on March 31 and won his next two starts.

Trotz was asked if he would consider a goalie change for Game 3. He said he hadn't had time to think about it.

"I'll be ready," Holtby said. "I expect to start every game until I'm told otherwise."

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