The Washington Capitals have been flat all night against the Tampa Bay Lightning. After falling behind 3-0 in the game’s first 30 minutes, Barry Trotz was forced to make his first in-game goalie change all year, pulling Braden Holtby in favor of Philipp Grubauer. Holtby, who is an early season Vezina Trophy candidate, surrendered three goals on 12 shots, including tallies on two consecutive attempts. None of the goals were completely Holtby’s fault.
Your day is about to get better: the Washington Capitals released their holiday video and it’s a doozy. Featuring Alex Ovechkin wearing a pink bunny costume, Michael Latta getting his tongue stuck to a pole, Rod Langway as Santa, and Alex Ovechkin in a pink bunny costume, this video is an instant classic.
Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images
During the course of an 82-game season, every team goes through periods where they just don’t play well. Recently, one of those teams has been the Washington Capitals, who are ranked 20th in score-adjusted possession over the past 30 days.
Luckily for the Caps, they have one of the best goalies on the planet who also happens to be playing the best hockey of his career. Over the past 30 days, Holtby has posted a 95.82 percent save percentage during 5v5 play. This ranks first among the 26 goalies who have played 360-plus minutes during that time.
Braden Holtby is having perhaps the best season of his career. He leads the league in wins (15) and goals against average (1.95). With Saturday’s 4-2 victory over Toronto, Holtby continued to rock out, earning a career-best seventh consecutive win. Today, he was honored by the NHL as their second star of the week. Stud.
Because Hockey Night In Canada loves us, they recorded the Capitals pre-game routine in the hallway just outside the locker room. It is ridiculous and therefore I must show you.
During a Hockey Night in Canada feature in the third period of Saturday’s game, Braden Holtby and his confidence level was compared and contrasted to Jonathan Bernier’s. The Leafs netminder, winless in 9 games (0-8-1), had a bad bobble during Tom Wilson’s second period goal. Meanwhile, zen-as-f-ck Braden Holtby was singing along to Cage The Elephant’s Mess Around during a commercial break like he didn’t have a care in the world.
Photo: Patrick McDermott
The Capitals were up 4-0 against the Tampa Bay Lightning with just over nine minutes to play. The game looked well in hand. Then Dmitry Orlov attempted to flip a puck out of the defensive zone. Instead, it was battled down by Anton Stralman past the blueline. Stralman then reentered the zone. The play looked, at game speed, to be clearly offside. The Capitals benched roared at the linesmen. Nevertheless, play went on. A few seconds later, Tampa had a goal, the start of an impressive third period that could have cost the Capitals the game.
“I thought it was, but I mean I can’t see that,” Capitals goalie Braden Holtby said. “You usually have plays like that just blown down.”
The Caps clearly expected it would be. Jason Chimera, Andre Burakovsky, Jay Beagle, Trevis (?) Chorney, and Orlov all stopped for a second. In the meantime, the Bolts set up in the offensive zone and Brian Boyle one-timed a puck past Holtby.
Photo: Patrick Smith
The Capitals were dramatically outplayed Monday night against the Edmonton Oilers. Nevertheless, they won, thanks almost entirely to Braden Holtby‘s 33 save shutout.
“I think the guys had a lot more to do with this one than it looked,” Holtby told reporters after the game. He was, it seems, the only member of the Capitals who thought that. In scrum after scrum, Holtby’s teammates lauded his performance, which was highlighted by a stunning save on Eric Gryba to keep the game scoreless in the third period.
“You’ll be seeing the replays of the save probably the rest of the year if you missed it,” said Tom Wilson, who assisted on the game’s only goal, a late third period strike from Dmitry Orlov. “He’s unbelievable. Honestly, we lose that game if he’s not in the net. If we have any other goalie in the league playing that game, we don’t win this hockey game.”
In his story on Monday for Today’s Slapshot, RMNB writer Pat Holden said Justin Williams has come to Washington “exactly as advertised,” but nowhere in the scouting reports was it mentioned that the dude is a wrecking ball on skates who ruins everything he touches.
Exhibit A: goalie interference to wipe Ovechkin’s record-breaking goal
Exhibit 2: offside to wipe out Ovechkin’s record-breaking goal, part deux
Exhibit III: reverse dumptruck comfy chair on Braden Holtby‘s back during warmups
Wednesday night, Evgeny Kuznetsov scored his sixth goal and second OTGWG of the season. In front of his idol Pavel Datsyuk, Kuznetsov went one-on-three and beat Petr Mrazek on a brilliant individual play. Kuznetsov, who was second in the league in points a few weeks ago, still leads the Caps as a team (18).
Braden Holtby, rarely overstated or hyperbolic, had high praise for Kuznetsov when he spoke with flesh-colored cucumber Pierre McGuire after the game.