202

Look Familiar? Grubauer returns to the District to start against old friends

Colorado Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer deflects a shot off the stick of a Minnesota Wild player in the first period of an NHL hockey game, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner, NBC Sports Washington. Sign up for NBC Sports Washington’s free email subscription today.

The Capitals will be visited by an old friend when former goalie Philipp Grubauer and the Colorado Avalanche face off against Washington on Thursday.

It’s been about seven months since the Avalanche acquired Grubauer. The goalie started as Washington’s backup, but after a season of wrestling with Braden Holtby, Grubauer was deemed top dog late in the season and even got the chance to start the Capitals’ first two playoff games.

Following losses in the first two games of the series, then-coach Barry Trotz put Holtby back in and the Caps went on to win the Stanley Cup.

But unlike last season, Grubauer is no second-string in Colorado — the goalie has started 20 games this season and currently holds a winning record of 9-7.

The details

What: Colorado Avalanche at Washington Capitals
Where: Capital One Arena in D.C.
When: Thursday, Feb. 7, 7 p.m. ET
TV/Streaming: NBCSW, MyTeams

What to know:

  1. Back in the swing of things (kind of). The Capitals have won two of their last three games after an intense losing streak. They finally snapped their dry spell after a 4-3 win over the Calgary Flames. They lost 1-0 to the Boston Bruins shortly after.
  2. In the history books. Currently the NHL’s top scorer at 37 goals this season, Alex Ovechkin recently broke the record for the top-scoring Russian player in history. Ovechkin acquired his 1,180th point Tuesday to help the Caps win 3-2 over the Vancouver Canucks. The captain surpassed previous record-holder Sergei Fedorov in 193 less games.
  3. Making trades. The Avalanche recently added Max McCormick to their roster in a trade with the Ottawa Senators. The forward joined the NHL in 2011 and has one goal in the past 14 games. They lost forward J.C. Beaudin in the exchange.

Quote of the day: “If you put an effort in like that more times than not it will come to your side more often than not,” Holtby told NBC Sports Washington after the team snapped their losing streak. “Couple that with our skill that will kick in once we do the right things that’s when we’re a dangerous hockey team. We just have to keep pointing in the right direction. It’s one game, and it’s a steppingstone.”

Last time out: The two teams haven’t met since November, when Nicklas Backstrom ripped a beautiful shot in overtime to win the game, 3-2.

Stats to know: Washington goalie Braden Holtby holds an average of 3.01 goals against him yet a 90.8 save percentage this season. Grubauer has a .890 save percentage and averaging 3.47 goals against.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner, NBC Sports Washington. Sign up for NBC Sports Washington’s free email subscription today.