Photo credit: Patrick McDermott
Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby stopped 46 saves on his way to the Capitals’ 4-1 win over the St. Louis Blues. That’s a regular-season record for Holtby, but not unprecedented given his workload this season.
Holtby has faced an above-average 30 or more shots in 13 of his 17 appearances this season. In 9 games he’s seen 35+ shots. Sunday was the second time he’s been up against more than 40.
And yet Holtby is sporting a fantastic .925 save percentage. With all of the close games they’ve been playing, the Caps have needed every one of those saves.
Alex Ovechkin‘s return to dominance may be the story of the 2013-14, but without Braden Holtby in net, the Caps wouldn’t be atop the Metropolitan Division right now. And if the Caps can ever get themselves out the bottom five in shots allowed per game, this team will start dominating.
After Sunday’s game, Holtby gave credit to anyone except himself.
“The [Blues’] Grade-A [chances] tonight were different than what you usually see,” Holtby said to the media after the game. “Usually you think of it as a 2-on-1 or something. The Grade-A’s St. Louis looks for are the screen shots, the deflections. They’re just as likely to go in if we play them wrong. Tonight we did a good job playing them right.”
Braden Holtby on his 46 saves to Al Koken: "It wasn't crazy."
— Ian Oland (@ianoland) November 18, 2013
Here are twenty– less than half– of Holtby’s saves tonight.