Capitals Expect to Have Holtby as They Try to Sweep Flyers

Braden Holtby and the Washington Capitals plan to keep rolling along against the Flyers despite an injury scare in practice.

Holtby, the goaltender who has stopped 91 of Philadelphia's 93 shots through three games of the first-round playoff series, left practice Tuesday with an apparent left leg injury after a collision with a teammate. Coach Barry Trotz said he expects Holtby to play in Game 4 on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN) as Washington goes for the sweep.

"Basically just got nicked up a little bit, went off and we'll see where he is,'' Trotz said. "But I don't anticipate Braden not playing.''

Holtby was not made available to reporters after practice but walked through the locker room without a noticeable limp. Trotz said he didn't see a need to call up a third goaltender, implying Holtby would start with Philipp Grubauer backing him up.

The Capitals don't know which Flyers goalie they will face after starter Steve Mason allowed six goals on 27 shots in a 6-1 loss in Game 3 Monday that featured angry fans throwing light-up wristbands onto the ice. Former Washington goalie Michal Neuvirth could get the nod if Philadelphia makes a change.

"I feel good about my game,'' Neuvirth said. "If I play I'm going to play with confidence.''

Washington will be forced to make one lineup change with defenseman Brooks Orpik out because of an upper-body injury. Orpik took a big hit from Ryan White in Game 3 and didn't return, an injury that will force more minutes for the top three of John Carlson, Karl Alzner and Matt Niskanen.


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"Anytime you lose a guy like Brooks Orpik, with his experience, he's been through the grind before, it's tough,'' said Taylor Chorney, one of two options to step into the lineup along with veteran Mike Weber. "But at the same time, we've kind of been through it this year. He spent some time where he was hurt earlier in the year, and we had guys step up.''

Based on the Capitals' domination in the series, it matters little who the sixth defenseman is. Washington is 8 for 17 on the power play, while Philadelphia is 0 for 13 and also hasn't managed to get much done 5-on-5.

"The special teams, obviously it's on paper. You can see it,'' Flyers forward Jakub Voracek said. "That's what's made a difference in this series.''

The Capitals have a 3-0 series lead for the first time in franchise history, and Trotz has never been in this spot, either. More of the same seems to be the plan.

"I don't think we need to change anything than what we've been doing, and that's playing hard and consistent,'' Alzner said. "In a game like this, when it's do-or-die for your teammates, it's just playing smart and playing hard because you know they're going to throw everything at you.''

The Flyers won't have forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare in Game 4 as he was suspended one game for checking Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov from behind Monday.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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