holtby-out-of-position

Photo credit: Kathy Willens

In Braden Holtby‘s first full season in the NHL, he dominated, proving that his great play in years past wasn’t a flash in the pan. He may very well be the long-term solution in net for the Washington Capitals, and the first guy to carry the load in net since Olie Kolzig left nearly a decade ago. But there are parts of Holtby’s game that are still raw, and tonight, that may have cost the Capitals the game.

New York dominated the first period, but Washington almost got out unscathed. That is until Holtby played a loose puck at the left circle. Instead of going the safe route and dumping the puck up the boards to a teammate, Braden decided to sauce a pass through the middle of the ice. The puck did not reach its intended target. Instead, it was whacked down by Taylor Pyatt and eventually shot into an empty net by Brad Richards.

holtby-noooo

GIF by welshhockeyfan

Holtby’s skill at playing the puck is so strong that he is sometimes considered a seventh defenseman by his teammates, and he has even tallied primary assists on goals this season. But he needs to pick his spots better, and he needs to rid his game of stuff like this– just like he did that pokecheck that once gave Thomas Vanek an easy win in overtime.

On Wednesday, Holtby made 30 saves, good for a .882 save percentage, and made several ten-bell stops, including denying Derek Stepan on a breakaway.

holtby-save-breakaway

To the splits! (GIF by welshhockeyfan)

The rest of this series will be decided by the team that makes fewer mistakes. If the Capitals can win this best-of-three series, they will need Holtby to not have any more breakdowns like tonight. Goals are hard to come by when Henrik Lundqvist is in the other net, and when the opponent can open the game with a layup, that’s more than just a one-goal hole to dig out of– it’s a blow to the team’s confidence.

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  • JenniferH

    It’s no secret that I’m a HUGE Holtby fan and I certainly always try and make him allowances, but oy vey… not good. Not good, Braden. He made great saves later, but dang, that doof-head move in the first!

  • http://www.facebook.com/derek.eklund Derek Eklund

    I took a freezing cold shower tonight as a sacrifice to the Hockey Gods.

  • yv

    You can see right now, that in every series GTs playing crucial role in winning the series. Canucks GTs problem sunk them, Pens yanking Fleury for game 5, LAKs Quick not so good, Habs with Price, and Wilds on the verge of elimination with the third GT, etc. Either Holtby will collect himself or Caps need Neuvy to step up, otherwise Caps will also go down in flames.

  • ImSoSorry

    Guys I’m really sorry but it’s because i shaved my beard today D: I had to trim it from the last lost and i knicked it a little too close and had to shave it all…

  • TheMuzz

    Hasn’t been great the past two nights. Defense has looked slow at time too.

  • http://twitter.com/sirstanley11 bskillet

    Whole team looked slow through 2. They just appeared totally out of focus and laid back. Braden is awesome but sure seems to hold the puck a bit long around the net.

  • Stanky Leg

    This game looked like a Wednesday night game during the regular season, not a playoff game. Caps had no jump in their step, and I honestly believe Holtby was trying to spark the team and make a play, unfortunately it back fired. You’re not going to win a playoff or any hockey game standing around on the power play and taking wrist shots from the point. Where’s Backstrom and Riberio; Mike Green and Matty Perry are the best Caps on the ice right now, need to play with the intensity they showed at the Verizon Center.

  • NotallSemin’sfault

    Dammit!

  • KareeLyn

    I found last night particularly stressful because it reminded me of the first month Caps. Moments of glory, but to riddled with weird decisions and inconsistencies. But I’m staying positive!

  • OlietheGoalie

    Come on Holts. Calm down. Don’t make stupid plays. We gotta win this round.

    Caps in 6.

  • 28IS(still)GREAT

    Lets just put it this way, this play did not help me win any arguments re: the two teams’ respective goaltending with my family of Rangers fans. Some game 5 redemption is seriously needed!

  • KareeLyn

    Ugh. *too