Caps' Beagle would go with Holtby in playoffs, if it came down to it

Chris Lingebach
March 22, 2018 - 8:37 pm
Capitals Goaltender Braden Holtby says he won't go to the White House.

Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

The Capitals face a daunting question with their regular season winding down toward another go at the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Who is the club's leading netminder?

Head coach Barry Trotz has avoided answering the question directly, though, as of late, he's alternated between longtime top goaltender and former Vezina Trophy winner, Braden Holtby, and his longtime backup, Philipp Grubauer. Holtby, playing far fewer games than he's accustomed, has a career- low save percentage (.906) and goals-against average (3.03), while Grubauer has been the more steady hand (.922/2.37). Over his past 22 appearances in net, Grubauer has maintained a .939 save percentage, while allowing 1.64 goals against.

"It's a great thing for us to have two goalies that are playing well, and obviously Grubi has stepped up big," said Caps forward Jay Beagle during his weekly 106.7 The Fan appearance — 'The Morning Skate with Jay Beagle,' sponsored by Sport Automotive.

"That's a guy who didn't get many games the last, really, two years, and he's started to get some games here in the last month and kind of get in a groove."

"Holtz is a guy who I think is the best goalie in the league," he said, offering a more definitive assessment. "It's always a good thing when you've got two goalies playing great, and it looks like that's what we've got right now. Especially these last, I think it's nine games left, to make sure that we have good, solid games in front of these guys. Because I've felt like, and I've said this before on the show, that we've kind of left our goalies out to dry a couple games during the mid-season here when we really were relying on them to make unreal saves just to even keep us in games."

"To make sure that we play solid games in front of them is huge coming down into playoffs," he said. "And playing the right way these last couple games here. Having two goalies hot is a great thing for our club."

But The Sports Junkies weren't letting Beagle off the hook.

"You may not want to comment on this or answer the question, but I'm gonna ask it anyway," said Jason Bishop. "If you guys were playing the Flyers Game 1 tomorrow of a playoff series, do you think Trotz would go with (Grubauer) or Holtby?"

"I have no clue. I mean, I can't even answer that," said Beagle. "I think... thank goodness I don't have to make that decision. But I think, if the playoffs started right now, I'd go with Holtz, I mean, just cause he's been our backbone for four or five years now of unbelievable goaltending. So a little rough stretch, where he's not playing as well as he would like to, doesn't define a goalie. You know what I mean?"

"No one's panicking here in this room," he added. "So I would go with Holtz, and then you always have Grubi, who's played unbelievable when he's come in. So, I mean, it's really a win-win."

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