Braden Holtby: A Superstar in the Making?

Photo credit: Patrick McDermott

Braden Holtby. He was simply incredible against the Bruins Thursday night — the only reason why the Caps aren’t down 3-1 heading into Boston. The 22-year-old netminder made 44 saves while allowing a single goal (on a 2-on-1) as the Caps squeaked out a 2-1 victory.

“That’s playoff hockey,” Holtby said after the game. “That’s why it’s so fun — the close games, the close battles. I hope it doesn’t change and I hope that we’re on the high end of it every time.”

After struggling somewhat Monday night (though not as much as the defense) in the Capitals 4-3 loss, this was a hell of a way to bounce back. Throughout the game Holtby was continuously peppered with shots but made save after save.

“We think he’s going to be good like that every single game and he usually is,” said Karl Alzner. “That goes to show how thick his skin is to be able to bounce back after the four goals last game and people saying that maybe the flood gates are opening. That was a veteran-like response.”

The Bruins dominated the first half of the game — they were outshooting the Capitals 26-5 at one point — but Holtby not only kept the game from getting embarrassing, he gave them a chance to win.

“He was a stud,” Brooks Laich said. “He just makes it very calm for the rest of us. We give up a shot, we know Holts is going to cover it and if he does leave a rebound, which I didn’t see many tonight, our guys are going to clear it. When you have a goaltender that’s on the top of his game, it really, really settles your team down. He was a leader for us tonight.”

With a brick wall protecting the Capitals net, Alex Semin was able to give Washington the lead — and eventually the win — on a late second period snipe. Holtby protected that razor-thin margin the remainder of the game, facing 31 shots in the final two periods. And the fans loved it. In the final minutes of the game the ‘keeper was serenaded with thundering “Holt-by” chants. Thanks to the Verizon Center in-game entrainment corps we know that the fans reached almost 120 decibels. We’re not exactly sure what that means, but it sounds like a lot.

“It’s great,” Holtby said of the cheers of 18,506. “It’s awesome to have that fan support. Not putting that down at all, but that can get your heart racing pretty quick if you let it. My job is to control my emotions and make sure I’m focusing on the next save.”

Holtby’s play in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals can no longer be described as a fluke or a product of good defense. It’s been four games and 178 saves (a 1.60 GAA for those keeping track at home). And Washington’s D in Game 4? Well, they did allow 45 shots after all.

It’s still going to be an uphill battle. The Capitals know netminders can steal series all too well. But the team can’t play the kind of defense they did Thursday. And they can’t have have the kind of offensive output they did Thursday. Save for the 15 shot second period, the Caps had just six SOGs total in the bookend frames.

But now, off to Boston. In Braden we trust.

  • Sarah

    It’s 2 am, I have work tomorrow, and I’m still awake watching Holtby highlights.

    …because it’s the cup?

  • Chris

    It’s 2am, I have class tomorrow and I’m still awake posting Braden Holtby highlights and responding to comments.

    Because it’s the cup!

  • Rezvan91

    “a superstar in the making”??? Guys, are you out of your mind???Last time I checked it is still the first round of the playoffs!!!Let the kid play and hope he can get our caps as far as possible.. but for now he has not guaranteed anything, even a starting goalie position for the next season.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/AD53U5OE5LM6MQ4OMD7QL6QGYA Philip

    For reference:  A jet engine is 140 dB at 100 feet away.  125 dB is where PAIN begins.

    Bring the PAIN!

  • http://twitter.com/VeggieTart Danielle

    I could not sleep last night, I was so jazzed up.  Caffeine…now….

  • Chris

    Yes, we are.

  • Chris

    The Kool-Aid is delicious by the way.

  • Rhino40

    All Glory to the Holt-Beast!!
    WTG Sasha Minor!!!
    LET’S GO CAPS!!!!!

    Oh, and BTW, DO Poke the Bear…with a 12-fot iron pike, as often as possile.  Because that way he’ll bleed out before he can get to you.  BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

  • Rhino40

     *12-foot

  • Reverendyakdad

    Boston intellectual humor:

    “Ok, so the Capitals won, but have you read the Chinese on the back of your goalie’s helmet? 
    改善gaishan “improvement” –
    except it is a formal term that is more likely to be seen in government
    documents than in reference to sports. You may have won the game, but Holtby lost at Chinese, so there!”

    Perhaps Holtby is working for the Chinese government?
     

  • serpent

    MoJo’s goal was poetic justice.

  • Santeri

     Woke up at 2 am to watch the game, had class in the morning at nine.

    Because it’s the cup!

  • http://twitter.com/xkaren08 Karen M

    I was mildly rooting for the Caps in this series but Holtby’s converted me into an F-YEAH CAPS fan.     

  • serpent

    Take this guys keys away and call a cab

  • http://www.calacirian.org sonja n a

    I love the rhetoric.  But.  I remember Cam Ward (as a rookie) stealing the show for Carolina a few years back.  Now he’s just a really good goalie on a mediocre team.   Let’s just win the next game :)

  • Snow-Ape

     Its actually Kaizen… and its a business practice for constant improvement…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=692356341 Matt Mendelsohn

    Usually I’m wishing the Post’s writing can be as lively as yours. But today, Tracee Hamilton had a winner, talking about the defensive breakdown that led to the Bruins’ goal: “As Peverly advanced, Holtby looked so abandoned you expected to hear a Sarah McLachlan song playing in the background.”   :)

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  • Adam

    damn my crotch hurts just looking at that picture above!! Gooo Holtby!!!

  • serpent

    Atta girl! welcome to Screaming Red Insanity Central!

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Chris Gordon

    If you see Tracee, tell her to please return Peter at her earliest convenience.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Chris Gordon

    Everything about MoJo is poetic.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Chris Gordon

    So, who will Holtby face in the Final? Rinne would be an interesting matchup.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Chris Gordon

    You forgot to add that we have cookies.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Chris Gordon

    Bring the pain — thick and proud!

  • serpent

    Oh, yeah! jeesh! forget my name next :)

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