- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 20, 2016

PHILADELPHIA — Despite leaving practice early on Tuesday after colliding with a teammate, goaltender Braden Holtby will play for the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night in Game 4 of their first-round series against the Philadelphia Flyers.

“No ill effects, and ready for Game 4,” Holtby said.

Holtby collided with one of the Capitals‘ top six forwards, all of whom wear a red sweater during practice, and then skated off the ice near the end of practice.

He barely participated in the Capitals‘ optional morning skate on Wednesday, dressing and skating before leaving the ice minutes after the brief session began.

Coach Barry Trotz said there was “not really” any concern about Holtby’s status despite the incident in practice.

“It’s just one of those things that sometimes happens in practice,” Holtby said. “Just wanted to be cautious with it, not push a little too far because the main focus is Game 4 and that’s what we’re focused on.”

One of the top candidates for the Vezina Trophy, Holtby tied Martin Brodeur’s league record with his 48th win in the Capitals‘ penultimate regular-season game. His goals-against average and save percentage ranked in the top 10 this season, and he enters Wednesday’s game first among active goaltenders who have played at least 20 postseason games with a 1.82 goals-against average and a .939 save percentage.

Should Holtby have been unable to play for the Capitals, they would have turned to Philipp Grubauer, who played in 22 games this season. Grubauer also earned a spot start a year ago, helping the Capitals to a 4-3 win over the New York Islanders in Game 2 of the first round when Holtby was ill.

“It doesn’t change much at the end with the team,” Grubauer said. “I’m still prepared, and if something happens — I hope not — I will be there. Mentally, physically, it doesn’t change anything for me. It would be nice to get a game, but I can’t control that. I’d rather have [Holtby] finish the series off instead of me getting a game.”

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