The Capitals returned goalie Phillip Grubauer to AHL Hershey on Monday, leaving their crease once again to Braden Holtby and Michal Neuvirth.
And so the rookie who has started 14 of Washington’s last 20 games and helped it stay afloat as its other goalies struggled with injuries and confidence, will work on his game in the minors, instead. Grubauer started road game at Columbus and the New York Rangers over the weekend and was pulled twice after allowing three goals.
“[Grubauer] came up and played really well, gave us a little life and won some games,” Caps coach Adam Oates said. “Obviously made for a difficult situation with three goalies and we just lost a few in a row. It makes sense to send him back down and go to two. We lost that spark, in a sense. He showed that he can be an NHL goalie.”
Grubauer leaves with a 6-4-5 record and a 2.38 goals against average. His save percentage finally started to dip in recent days and now sits at .926, which remains better than either Holtby or Neuvirth. Holtby was the player who entered in relief of Grubauer after early departures Friday and Sunday in a pair of losses. Grubauer played just 39:30 in those two contests.