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WASHINGTON — The Washington Capitals and Columbus Blue Jackets are rolling into Game 1 of their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series with goaltenders who are question marks for different reasons.

For Columbus (45-30-7 Alexander Alexeyev Capitals Jersey , first Eastern Conference wild card), Sergei Bobrovsky has been one of the league’s top goaltenders but has not carried that success into the postseason.

Washington’s Philipp Grubauer, who got the nod from coach Barry Trotz for Game 1 over Braden Holtby, has just 79 minutes of playoff experience on his resume.

“I just think (Grubauer) deserves the opportunity,” Trotz told thesportscapital.com of going with Grubauer in Game 1. “Trust me, it wasn’t an easy decision.”

Grubauer, who stepped in when Holtby was given a “reset” after slumping in February and March, finished with a .923 save percentage and a 2.35 goals-against average. Trotz rotated the pair down the stretch, but Grubauer started 10 of the final 17 games.

“It’s a privilege to start Antonio Senzatela Colorado Rockies Jersey , for sure,” Grubauer told the Washington Post. “You treat it as Game 1 (of the regular season) or Game 82. It’s not going to change any of my approach.”

Trotz said he will go game-by-game in his goaltending decisions.

“It’s a coach’s decision who plays or not,” Holtby told the Post. “It doesn’t have anything to do with me. So, I just focus on one practice at a time and try to be a positive influence on the team and go from there.”

Grubauer is 0-1-1 in three games with a 2.48 GAA and .915 save percentage against the Blue Jackets. Holtby is 14-4-2 with a 2.62 GAA and .914 save percentage.

Bobrovsky was 37-22-6 in the regular season with 2.42 GAA and a .921 save percentage.

In the playoffs, he is 3-10 with a 3.63 GAA and .887 save percentage.

This is the first playoff meeting between the teams, but in his career versus Washington, Bobrovsky is 7-10-4 with a 3.02 GAA and .900 save percentage.

“We have full confidence in his abilities,” Columbus captain Nick Foligno to the team’s website regarding Bobrovsky. “If I had to pick anybody in the league to go to the playoffs with, it would be him. And I think he’s pretty confident about the team in front of him as well.”

Washington took three of four from Columbus this season Authentic John Tavares Jersey , but the Blue Jackets won the last meeting 5-1 on Feb. 26. Holtby was in goal for all four games.

The Capitals didn’t win their third straight Presidents’ Trophy but they beat expectations. Despite losing a chunk of its offense, Washington again won the Metropolitan Division and closed the season 8-2-0.

Alex Ovechkin rebounded from last season’s 33-goal effort to lead the NHL with 49. Evgeny Kuznetsov totaled 11 goals and 17 assists in the final 18 games, and defenseman John Carlson led all blue-liners with 68 points.

Columbus led the NHL in scoring over its final 28 games with 101 goals and finished on a 10-2-2 streak.

Artemi Panarin led the Blue Jackets with 27 goals and 82 points. Cam Atkinson has 24 goals, including 11 in the final 11 games.

Top defensive pair Seth Jones and Zach Werenski each scored 16 goals, tying the franchise record for most goals by a defenseman in one season.

Washington has the edge in special teams, with the league’s seventh-ranked power play (22.5 percent success rate) and 15th-rated penalty kill (80.3 percent).

Columbus is 25th on the power pay (17.2 percent) and 26th on the penalty kill (76.2 percent).

“It’s been inconsistent this year,” Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella told the team’s website regarding the penalty kill. “I’m not going to hide from that. You get into playoffs, just try to wipe the slate clean and get about your business here. We can focus in on their tendencies. That’s a big part of the series.

“Hopefully, we’re smart enough that we keep control of ourselves Trent Brown Color Rush Jersey , our emotions, we’re a disciplined team and not sitting in that box a whole bunch in this series.”

A look at what’s happening around the majors today:

MIGGY’S DONE

Miguel Cabrera’s season is over, leaving Detroit without its biggest star at a time when there wasn’t much else for Tigers fans to latch onto. Cabrera ruptured his left biceps tendon on a swing Tuesday night, ending the two-time MVP’s year just a couple of weeks after he returned from a DL stint due to a right hamstring strain. The 35-year-old Cabrera will have surgery this week. He batted .301 with three homers and 22 RBIs for a team that wasn’t expected to compete in the AL Central.

POWER PLAY

Mike Trout leads the majors with 23 home runs and he’s gone deep twice each of the last two nights, becoming the first player with consecutive multihomer games at Safeco Field in Seattle. But that hasn’t been enough for the Angels, who lost both times. Trout tries to keep it going at the plate when Los Angeles faces left-hander Marco Gonzales (7-3, 3.28 ERA) and the first-place Mariners again. Gonzales has allowed only three earned runs in his past five starts, a span of 33 1/3 innings. Garrett Richards (4-4, 3.26) pitches for the Angels. He shut out the Mariners over 6 2/3 innings on May 4 but hasn’t won since.

BRUISED IN THE BRONX

One night after the Yankees hit Washington star Bryce Harper with a pair of pitches Kyle Lauletta Color Rush Jersey , the teams play again in New York. Could the Nationals look to retaliate? ”No ill feelings at all,” Harper said after his team lost 3-0. The slugger gave Washington a scare when he fell to the ground in pain after getting plunked on the right elbow by a 90 mph pitch from CC Sabathia. Harper remained in the game but then came out after he was hit on the left foot by Dellin Betances’ 89 mph slider in the eighth. The 2015 NL MVP said he had an X-ray on the toe and he’s fine. ”Elbow feels OK, and the big toe just hurts a little bit,” he explained. Harper leads the NL with 19 homers but is batting just .215 since May 1. He had been hit by a pitch only once previously this season and had not been dinged twice in a game since August 2013 at Atlanta.

JAKE-BITTEN

The Mets try to snap a most puzzling skid when Jacob deGrom pitches against Atlanta. DeGrom has a 1.24 ERA in his past four starts, and yet New York has lost each of those outings. Only the Marlins and Reds have worse records in the NL than the Mets, and general manager Sandy Alderson is shouldering the blame. ”When you’re scoring runs at the anemic rate that we have, something hasn’t worked. So from that standpoint, I take full responsibility for where we are,” he said Tuesday. As the All-Star Game next month and the July 31 trade deadline approach http://www.eaglesauthorizedshops.com/authentic-josh-sweat-jersey , Alderson acknowledged he would consider retooling if the Mets’ record doesn’t improve.

GERRIT GOING OFF
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Gerrit Cole aims to keep up his stellar season when Houston faces Oakland. Cole (7-1, 2.16 ERA) has won five straight decisions and entered Tuesday leading the AL with 124 strikeouts. He has yet to allow more than three earned runs in a start this season. Paul Blackburn (1-0, 1.50) is up for the A’s following a terrific season debut last week against Kansas City.

MAEDA IT BACK

Kenta Maeda is set to return for the Dodgers against Texas, though most of his usual rotation-mates are still on the disabled list. Maeda has been out with a hip injury since May 29, and he’ll come off the DL a day after rookie right-hander Walker Buehler was added to the list. Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Dennis Santana remain on the DL for the Dodgers.



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Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:52 am
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