The Washington Capitals have been carrying three healthy goalies for weeks now. That’s an awkward situation under any set of circumstances, but it’s made worse recently by the team’s struggles.
Rookie netminder Philipp Grubauer hasn’t been bad by any stretch of the imagination, but he’s lost four of his last five starts and Braden Holtby’s confidence was shaken after he allowed five goals on 11 shots on Saturday.
Washington isn’t scheduled to play again until Thursday, which gives Capitals coach Adam Oates plenty of time to mull over who he’ll start next.
“What if I go to (Michal Neuvirth)?” Oates said, according to CSN Washington. “Neuvy deserves a start at some point, right?
That would be interesting if nothing else. Neuvirth has been the team’s third-string goaltender lately and his agent has asked for his client to be traded. It remains to be seen if the Capitals will be able to accommodate that request, but it would likely be easier if he gets some playing time. As it is, Neuvirth hasn’t started since Nov. 22.
The Washington Capitals have just a one-point edge on the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Rangers. If they allow either of those teams to surpass them, the Capitals will have let their current playoff spot slip out of their grasp.
With their mothers traveling on the road trip — Matt Bartkowski‘s mom, Beth, has become a cult hero in Vancouver after another priceless media interview — the Canucks took back-to-back wins, moving them right back into the thick of the playoff fight in the Western Conference.
Up by a goal in the third period, defenseman Alex Biega played the hero, pulling the puck out of the crease after it got by Ryan Miller on a backhand shot from Kyle Chipchura, maintaining Vancouver’s lead.
Phaneuf burned on Zetterberg game-winner in Sens debut
“I put my stick there, he put (the puck) under and he made a good shot. I’ve got to have a better stick in that situation, but you’ve got to give him credit for that play.”
Phaneuf finished the night with a minus-one rating and two hits in almost 22 minutes of ice time, putting him second among Sens defensemen in that category behind Erik Karlsson, who played a whopping 33:30.
Phaneuf drilled Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser with a hard slap shot early in the third period.
DeKeyser played one more shift — all of 10 seconds — before exiting the game.
Blashill says DeKeyser has a bruise, not a break. Will know more tomorrow, but probably day-to-day
The New York Rangers are likely too far behind the Washington Capitals to take any legitimate run at the Atlantic Division down the stretch.
But winners now of four straight, the Rangers have opened up a bit of a gap between them and other Eastern Conference teams in the playoff race. New York scored a 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, winners in six of their last seven games, on Wednesday.