The Washington Capitals will continue to roll with Philipp Grubauer tonight when they take on the New York Rangers. He was in net when Washington played the Anaheim Ducks in the team’s last contest prior to the winter break, so this will technically be Grubauer’s second consecutive start for the team.
Oates confirms Grubauer will start, Laich will sit out against NYR. #Caps
— Katie Carrera (@kcarrera) December 27, 2013
The 22-year-old took a 3-2 loss against the Ducks, but that was his first defeat on the year. Grubauer is 4-1-1 overall, and Oates hasn’t been shy about playing him ahead of Michal Neuvirth. Neuvirth—who hasn’t started since November 22—was restless several days ago as Washington continued to play Grubauer.
He spoke to Barry Svrluga of The Washington Post on December 21 and his frustration was clear at that point:
It’s going day by day. I don’t know what’s the plan. I haven’t really talked to anyone, so just going day by day and working in practice. I want to be a No. 1 goalie in this league. If not here, maybe somewhere else.
Those are some mildly foreboding words from Neuvirth, and speaks to a possible goaltending controversy brewing in Washington. Braden Holtby hasn’t been particularly strong in his last few outings, so perhaps this is just a matter of Oates rolling with the hotter hand as his team continues to chase down the Pittsburgh Penguins for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division.