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WASHINGTON — The Washington Capitals open a five-game homestand Saturday night when they host the Dallas Stars at Capital One Arena.The Capitals (5-4-2) began a stretch of 15 games in 30 days with a 6-4 loss on Thursday night in Montreal Boston Bruins T-Shirts Authentic , capping a 2-2 road trip.Dallas (7-5-0) is 2-1 on its six-game road trip after a 2-1 win on Thursday night in Toronto and is 4-1 in its last five games.Article continues below ...Anton Khudobin made 30 saves in his first start since Oct. 16, Jamie Benn and Devin Shore scored, and Tyler Seguin had two assists for the Stars.Shore has goals in back-to-back games and points in five of his last six games (2-6-8).“He’s just a smart hockey player,” Dallas coach Jim Montgomery told NHL.com. “I like the way he possesses pucks and the poise he has with the puck. He’s starting to get a lot of confidence and with that he’s skating harder and winning more one-on-one battles. He’s a guy that I’m going to continue to move around because I think he can get other players going.”After playing on the fourth earlier in the week against Montreal — and getting a goal and two assists — Shore played on the wing with Seguin and Mattias Janmar against Toronto.“He’s fun to play with,” Seguin said. “He’s making a lot of things happen. If it wasn’t for him in Montreal, we don’t win that game. He’s really coming into his own and maturing and playing good hockey.”On Friday, the Starts announced that defenseman Dillon Heatherington, 23, would be recalled from the Texas Stars with Connor Carrick heading to injured reserve. Carrick did not play against Toronto after blocking a shot in the team’s loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday afternoon.The Capitals appeared to have fashioned a great ending to their road trip before the Canadiens scored three goals in the final 3:04 Thursday night.“Obviously it’s frustrating in the situation,” goalie Braden Holtby told NHL.com. “I think we had a chance to steal one there and just came up short. Luck seemed to be on our side for most of the third, and then it turned. We didn’t do enough to push the other way.”Alex Ovechkin and Lars Eller each scored twice, and Holtby made 38 saves for the Capitals. It was Ovechkin’s first two-goal game of the season.Washington will be without 38-year-old defenseman Brooks Orpik against Dallas. He’ll miss his second straight game Saturday night because of an undisclosed lower-body injury.Christian Djoos Boston Bruins Hoodies Authentic , 24, and Madison Bowey, 23, formed the team’s third defensive pairing against Montreal.“I thought they did some good things,” Capitals coach Todd Reirden told the Washington Post. “I think Madison in particular was able to show us his skating. I thought he made some plays offensively, just a couple chances against for them. But for the most part, they limited it.”Holtby is 2-4 with a 4.06 goals-against average and .865 save percentage against Dallas. Ben Bishop of the Stars is 2-6-2 with a 3.46 GAA and an .888 save percentage against Washington.The Stars went 0-1-1 against the Capitals last season but have won six of their last seven games in Washington. ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) Philipp Grubauer will start Washington’s playoff opener against Columbus, the first Capitals goaltender not named Braden Holtby to start a postseason series since 2011.The 26-year-old German started 10 of the final 16 games of the regular season, going 7-3-0 with a 2.32 goals-against average and .925 save percentage. Grubauer’s 2.06 GAA and .933 save percentage are the best among NHL goalies since Oct. 27.”I just think that Grubi deserves the opportunity,” coach Barry Trotz said Tuesday, a day after telling Grubauer of his decision. ”It sort of evolved all year. There wasn’t a date or anything like that. It just evolved and Grubi got more games and a bigger body of work.”Grubauer called it a privilege to start after spending the past three full seasons as the backup to Holtby Boston Bruins Hats Authentic , who won the 2016 Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s best goaltender. It could be a short-lived privilege if he struggles because Trotz said his decision is only for Game 1 on Thursday night and the Capitals are going ”game by game.”The opener will be Grubauer’s second career start in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Grubauer started a game against the New York Islanders in the first round in 2015 when Holtby was sick and entered in relief once in 2017.”It doesn’t change how we go about our business,” Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. ”We’re just concerned about our game.”Grubauer led Windsor to the Ontario Hockey League title and won the Memorial Cup in 2010. He also helped Germany qualify for the 2018 Olympics. But it’s this recent stretch that gives him the most confidence going into the playoffs.”It helps playing more and more,” Grubauer said. ”The more you get on the ice, the more experience you get. You see different situations and different teams. If you sit on the bench, you can get good from watching, but you’ve got to get the experience.”He will likely see a lot of Columbus captain Nick Foligno, who is back after missing the final six games of the regular season with a lower-body injury. Foligno gives the Blue Jackets some net-crashing presence and will be in and around the crease often.”I honestly feel great,” Foligno said after centering Oliver Bjorkstrand and Josh Anderson in practice on what is now the deep Blue Jackets’ third line. ”I’ve played this game long enough to know how you have to prepare during an injury to make sure you’re feeling good mentally and physically when you get back.”Holtby has never sat on the bench for a Stanley Cup playoff game. Michal Neuvirth started all nine games for Washington in 2011 before injuries to him and Tomas Vokoun pressed Holtby into duty in 2012.The 28-year-old has started 59 of the past 60 Capitals playoff games. But his struggles down the stretch – a 3.75 GAA and .886 save percentage in his final 17 appearances – cost him the ability to go into another postseason as the guy even after showing improvements following his four-game ”reset.”Trotz said Holtby was a pro and told him: ”If you put me in the net, my job is to stop the puck. If I get that opportunity, I’ll stop the puck.” He was similarly gracious after practice about the demotion.”My job is just to focus on my game, getting it the best it can get to,” said Holtby Custom Boston Bruins Jerseys , who closed the season 5-1-0 with a 2.67 GAA and .911 save percentage . ”Coach’s decision who plays or not doesn’t have anything to do with me. I’ll just focus one practice at a time, trying to be a positive influence around the team and go from there.”Holtby said in March it was good to ”clear the team’s head with that kind of stigma that’s kind of going on with me in net.” With Holtby and Grubauer splitting time down the stretch, the Capitals won 12 of their 15 final games.”I think we have two good goalies who can play,” defenseman Dmitry Orlov said. ”Grubi was good for us all season. It’s not easy to be second goalie and not play some games. You need to always be prepared in practice. I think he did a good job like a professional player, and I think he’s got confidence right now.”NOTES: Capitals C Jay Beagle, who missed the final three games of the regular season with an upper-body injury, did not practice Tuesday but skated afterward. Trotz is calling Beagle day-to-day. … Capitals RW T.J. Oshie said he feels great after resting a nagging lower-body injury and expects to be in the lineup for Game 1.—AP Sports Writer Mitch Stacy in Columbus, Ohio, contributed.—


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