Braden Holtby made his debut to the 2018 NHL Playoffs in relief of Philipp Grubauer in the third period of Sunday’s Game 2 between the Washington Capitals and Columbus Blue Jackets.
Grubauer was chosen by Capitals head coach Barry Trotz to start at netminder to start the first-round series against the Blue Jackets. Grubauer had the hot-hand posting better numbers in save percentage and goals-against average over Holtby.
Unfortunately for Trotz and the Capitals, that idea essentially backfired. Grubauer got lit up for four goals in a 4-3 overtime loss in Game 1. Yet, it was Grubauer in the net for Game 2. After the Capitals took what appeared to be a commanding 3-1 lead early in the second period, Grubauer was blitzed by Columbus in a three-goal barrage that swung the lead to Columbus by the end of the period.
Trotz turned to the more proven Holtby to start the third period, hoping the 2016 First-Team All-Star and 2017 Second-Team All-Star goalie could hold the fort and swing momentum back in Washington’s way. The Capitals are looking to avoid falling into a 2-0 series lead at home before the series turns to Columbus for the next two games.