After serving as the backup goaltender for the past five games, Pheonix Copley will be starting Sunday night against the Winnipeg Jets. Copley’s last game came on February 24 against the New York Rangers.
The rest of the lines remain the same, with Carl Hagelin playing on the third line alongside Lars Eller and Brett Connolly, and Nick Jensen pairing with Brooks Orpik on defense. The Capitals are on a six-game win streak.
Pheonix Copley appears to be tonight’s starter.
— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) March 10, 2019
The Winnipeg Jets are one of the top teams in the Western Conference, sitting on top of the Central division. Both the Jets and the Caps have 40 wins this season.
After morning skate on Sunday, Todd Reirden spoke about sitting Holtby Sunday night.
“He has played outstanding since the all-star break,” Reirden said, as reported by Isabelle Khurshudyan of the Washington Post. “His work has been at a high level, and we’ve got a lot of games coming up. So we had to, at some point, make a decision of when to play Pheonix, and we think that tonight’s the right night with the week we have ahead of use as well. We’re at home, and I hope that our team can play a little bit of a better team game than we did against New Jersey to give him some support. I think it’s the right time.”
Reirden said he had the rest of the week’s schedule in mind in making his decision, with games against divisional rivals Penguins and Flyers coming up on Tuesday and Thursday.
“The balance of it, looking at setting up the rest of the week, different opponents, lots of things that go into it,” Reirden said.
Reirden also explained why Holtby started the previous game against the New Jersey Devils, explaining that playing a team outside of the playoff picture can be a “wild card.”
“For us, where we were at, we felt really good about Braden’s game, and I think sometimes when you’re playing against teams that aren’t going to be playoff teams sometimes, it’s a little bit of a wild card. And I thought it was fortunate that we played him because he won us that game. That was the right choice then, and we’ll see how Pheonix does tonight. I’m looking forward to watching it,” said Reirden.
Holtby recorded a shut out in Friday’s game against the Devils, his third of the season and tied Olie Kolzig for most in franchise history.
Copley has a .901 save percentage in 23 games this season. He holds a 14-5-3 record.
Header photo: Elizabeth Kong
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