Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson, left, and Tom Wilson (43) celebrate 3-2 win over the New York Rangers with goalie Philipp Grubauer, center, in an NHL hockey game, Friday, Dec. 27, 2013, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Grubauer deepens Caps’ goalie controversy, beats Rangers


Sooner or later, the Washington Capitals are going to have to decide what they want to do with their goaltending situation. Given that Michal Neuvirth and Braden Holtby are both inked to one-way contracts that run through 2014-15, the simplest solution would be to return Philipp Grubauer to the minors.

That’s the simple answer, but Grubauer is doing everything in his power to make sure it isn’t the easy one.

He took advantage of another opportunity Friday night by saving 38 of 40 shots in Washington’s 3-2 win over the New York Rangers. The 22-year-old rookie now has a 5-1-1 record, 2.18 GAA and .937 save percentage in eight games.

The situation has already caused some tension among the Capitals goalies, with Neuvirth recently expressing his frustration over his lack of playing time.

For his part though, Capitals coach Adam Oates is still hedging his bets.

“Right now, it’s only been eight games and goalies, like everybody, have their waves,” Oates told the Monumental Network. He added that Grubauer has been giving his teammates some added confidence.

Washington will play against Buffalo on Sunday.

Video: Eichel’s first career NHL goal

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Didn’t take long for Jack Eichel to make his mark at the NHL level.

The No. 2 overall pick at this year’s draft scored his first-ever NHL goal in his first-ever NHL game on Thursday night, cutting Ottawa’s lead to 2-1 in the third period of Buffalo’s season-opener.

Marcus Foligno and another new Sabre, Evander Kane, registered the assists on Eichel’s marker, which came on the power play.


Tough start: Lehner knocked out of Sabres debut, won’t return

Matt Puempel, Alex Chiasson, Robin Lehner
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Chances are Robin Lehner won’t look back fondly on his first game as a Sabre.

Midway through Buffalo’s season-opener against Ottawa, Lehner — facing his old team for the first time since getting traded this summer — suffered a lower-body injury, and was forced from the contest.

During the second intermission, the Sabres ruled out Lehner for the night.

It was a difficult turn of events for 24-year-old, who admitted he was keen to go up against the Sens. He had a bit of a chip on his shoulder about his time in the Canadian capital; Lehner felt he never got a full opportunity to run with the No. 1 gig, and probably wasn’t thrilled GM Bryan Murray opted to keep Craig Anderson and Andrew Hammond instead of him.

As for tonight’s injury, details are scarce. All that’s known is the ailment was serious enough for Lehner to leave and not return, forcing backup Chad Johnson into duty.

Prior to getting hurt, Lehner had stopped 11 of 12 shots faced.