Grubauer gets ninth start in 12 games for Caps

Grubauer gets ninth start in 12 games for Caps
January 2, 2014, 11:15 am
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Washington Capitals goalie Philipp Grubauer (31) celebrates after the Capitals game against the New York Rangers at Verizon Center. The Capitals won 3-2.

(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)

Rookie goaltender Philipp Grubauer will start for the ninth time in 12 games and Brooks Laich will play for just the second time in 16 games when the Capitals face the Carolina Hurricanes tonight at Verizon  Center [7 p.m., CSN].

For those counting this will be Grubauer’s fifth start in a row. Braden Holtby [13-10-2, 3.00, .915] has not started since Dec. 21 and Michal Neuvirth [2-3-1, 2.83, .912], whose agent has requested a trade, has not played since Nov. 22.

So, are the Caps ready to make this a long-term commitment to Grubauer, who is 5-2-2 with a 2.02 goals-against average and .938 save percentage?

“I think we’ve all seen that since he came here he’s given us a little bit of a feeling of confidence,” Oates said. “I think the players feel that, we feel that and because of that it’s good for him. He’s earned it.”

But what about moving forward? Is it time for the Capitals to cut bait with Neuvirth, who still believes he can be a starter in the NHL but is trapped as a third goalie in Washington?

At what point will the Caps decide whether Grubauer is here to stay?

“That’s a difficult situation,” Oates said. “I’m sure it’ll play itself out.”

What are your thoughts on how this will play itself out?

[RELATED: Oates moves struggling Ovechkin to second line]

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