Philipp Grubauer will start for the Washington Capitals on Sunday against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. It will be the rookie's second career start.
"Because [Braden Holtby] can't play 80 in a row," head coach Adam Oates said when asked for his reasoning behind the decision. "I felt like he needs a break. Back-to-back for both teams. I just felt like Gruby needs a game, we need our other guy to play and it's a chance for him."
In his only other NHL start, the 22-year-old made 40 saves in a 5-2 loss against the New York Islanders on March 9. Grubauer came on in relief of Holtby on Tuesday against the Carolina Hurricanes, making nine saves in the third period of Washington's 4-1 loss.
Regarding the rest of the lineup, it will remain the same minus one decision that Oates is still mulling over. Either defenseman Patrick Wey, who made his NHL debut on Saturday during Washington's 5-2 win against the Nashville Predators, will appear in his second straight game, or Steve Oleksy, who has not played since Nov. 20, will replace him.
Here is the complete projected lineup for Washington:
Marcus Johansson - Nicklas Backstrom - Alex Ovechkin
Eric Fehr - Mikhail Grabovski - Troy Brouwer
Jason Chimera - Martin Erat - Joel Ward
Aaron Volpatti - Jay Beagle - Tom Wilson
Nate Schmidt - John Carlson
Karl Alzner - Mike Green
Dmitry Orlov - Patrick Wey/Steve Oleksy
Meanwhile, Henrik Lundqvist, recently a thorn in the Capitals' side, will start for the Rangers. Dating to Game 6 of the teams' first-round playoff series last season, the newly re-signed Lundqvist has shut out Washington in three consecutive games. After making 22 saves in the Rangers' 2-0 victory against the Capitals on Oct. 16 at Verizon Center, Lundqvist has stopped 84 consecutive Washington shots.
Defenseman Marc Staal will not play after suffering a neck injury on Saturday against the New Jersey Devils. Michael Del Zotto will fill his void in New York's lineup.
The Rangers are in the midst of a franchise-record nine-game homestand, which began on Saturday with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Devils. After starting the season on a nine-game road trip, New York will not play another game outside friendly confines until Dec. 27, when it visits Washington.
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