After Braden Holtby tied Martin Brodeur for single-season wins record at 48 last night, Capitals head coach Barry Trotz said “we’ll see” when asked multiple times by reporters if Holtby would get the start Sunday against the Anaheim Ducks. Trotz had spent days indicating Holtby almost certainly not play, with the Capitals sticking to their usual Holtby then Philipp Grubauer plan when the team plays back-to-back games. And that’s exactly what they’re doing.
Multiple Capitals made history Saturday night in St. Louis. All eyes were on Braden Holtby — including Martin Brodeur’s — as he attempted to tie the Hall of Fame goalie’s record of 48 wins in a single season. With a 5-1 victory, he did just that. Brodeur took 78 games to reach the mark. Holtby did it in just 66 games. Time for class photos!
Alex Ovechkin is stocky and swift. With one quick move, he can leave you bloody and terrified. Ovechkin is aggressive, never backing down from a fight, leaving people who come near him begging their don’t feel the brunt of his attack. But I’m taking about two different animals. One of them plays hockey for the Washington Capitals. The other is a dog.
Friday night on National Geographic Wild’s Cesar 911, hosted famed “Dog Whisperer” Cesar Millan, one of them was featured. It didn’t involve terrible Russian EDM, so I’m sorry to say it was Ovechkin the German Shepard, who sported an Ovi Winter Classic jersey in one of the pictures shown on the show.
Sometime next week, after 82 games and a Presidents’ Trophy, the Washington Capitals will host Game One of the Eastern Conference First Round. This year, Capitals have put together one of the best regular seasons in National Hockey League history. Players have set records and some are still chasing them.
But the only thing that really matters to this team and to this fanbase is winning a Stanley Cup, something the Capitals are trying to accomplish for the first time in their 41-year history. Despite all their regular season success, the Capitals will face a tough first round opponent in either the Boston Bruins or Philadelphia Flyers. In the Stanley Cup playoffs, four losses is all it takes to implode a season that began in September. And as they close out their schedule, the Caps have now lost three games in a row for the first time this season and four of their last five matchups.
“We’ve lost a couple games here. It starts to sink in more,” head coach Barry Trotz told reporters Friday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. “I think it’s go time.”
It’s game 80 for the Washington Capitals this season. I cannot think of a more perfect time to go all Adam Oates and force new things down Caps fans’ throats. On our end, RMNB tried out a new in-game live blog, where you got to interact with Chris. But not me. I’m the actual Chris. His name is Chris From The Comments, because he doesn’t have the credentials to blow up the site at will. From the Caps, got some new lines and D-pairs from Barry Trotz, which might be the way the Capitals lineup looks when we start the playoffs. Braden Holtby was in net because you sure as hell know why Braden Holtby was in net. Pens had won 13 of 14. So let’s do this.
Well, on second thought, let’s not. Forty-four seconds into the game, the Capitals’ defense crumbled like a nomination before the Senate — except the Capitals were trying even less.
Early in the second, Matt Cullen scored yet another goal in the first minute of the period, His shorthanded goal seemingly crush the Caps’ hopes. Then the Caps killed a five-minute penalty (Tom Wilson, natch) only to surrender a five-hole goal to Connor Sheary on an odd-man rush soon after. Thank goodness for Marcus Johansson, who finally got the Caps on board late in the period.
In the third, Joe Hanson was money yet again, turning the rest of the third period into a grudge match against the league’s hottest team. Just over three minutes later, another perfect Swedish and adorable and awesome player named Andre Burakovsky CRASHED THE FREAKIN’ NET and tied the game. This is why you watch sports.
What happened later is why you never want to watch sports again. Sidney Crosby in the extra frame. Pens beat Caps 4-3 (OT).
Major League Baseball is in the throes of opening week and Orioles Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson was at a hockey game Thursday night. As a guest of CSN Mid-Atlantic and the Laughlin family, Robinson came to Verizon Center to see the latest iteration of the Capitals Penguins rivalry.
Nicknamed “The Human Vacuum Cleaner,” Robinson won 16 Gold Gloves and two world championships with the Baltimore Orioles. Robinson is considered one of the greatest third basemen in major league history. Former Capitals player Brooks Laich is named after the beloved Orioles infielder.
During the first intermission, I spoke with Robinson. Brooks explained his hockey fandom, what position he would play if he were a hockey player, and his thoughts on his historic Major League career.
Braden Holtby sat at the far end of the Capitals locker room for a few minutes, staring straight ahead. As reporters began to file in, Holtby walked out of the room to gather himself, returning about 10 minutes later. Earlier in the night, he held a 3-1 lead against the New York Islanders, just 13 minutes away from tying Hall of Fame goaltender Martin Brodeur for the most wins in a single season. With the Capitals possessing the best third period goal differential in the league and a significant shot advantage, Verizon Center roared as every save put him closer to the NHL record of 48 wins.
But in the final minutes, Holtby buckled, making an elementary miscue that ended up in the back of his net, putting the Islanders within one.
“I just, I made a mistake and it changed the momentum,” a dejected Holtby said of the play after the game. “It was just one of those plays I got caught between covering it and putting it in the corner, and when you’re in between decisions, it never ends up well.”
With the Colorado Avalanche fighting for the final spot in the West and the Washington Capitals trying to get Braden Holtby his 47th win of the season, Friday’s late season game took on a furious pace, full of end-to-end action. The energetic play took a scary turn about five minutes into the second period when Tom Wilson unleashed an explosive hit on Colorado defenseman Nikita Zadorov.