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In the final minute of last night’s game, Minnesota Wild forward Thomas Vanek had a run-in with Braden Holtby. It did not end well for Vanek.

Or his stick.

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holtby-butt-check

Milan Lucic has a history of running goaltenders. Tonight he tried to do it to Braden Holtby. Instead he got butt-checked.

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Alright, listen. There was a game and the Caps won, but all I really care about is that Nate Schmidt scored. I’m not gonna play it cool and dedicate just a single, solemn bullet to Nate’s goal because you will all know I’m being disingenuous.

So here, up front, is John Walton calling Nate Schmidt’s goal.

 

And up top is a photo of him being happy because that’s what he does. That’s what relentlessly positive Nate Schmidt does.

And here’s what I looked like after the goal.

Anyway, the Caps beat the Bruins. John Carlson also scored. Holtby got a shutout. Let’s talk about it.

Caps beat Bruins 2-0.

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caps-holtby-mask

Photo: Caps Instagram

Braden Holtby has been busy this year, playing in 53 of the Capitals’ 62 games. Maybe that’s why he just unveiled his fourth new mask of the 2014-15 season. Painted by Swedish artist Dave Gunnarsson, the mask integrates some design features from Holtby’s Winter Classic bucket. The hand-painted Uncle Sam portrait, an homage to Olie Kolzig, returns on the chin.

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The Caps Are Straight Dominating the NHL’s Leaderboard

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Photo: @capsfan74

On February 19th, 2015, let it be remembered that 59 games into the season, the Caps were straight pwning the NHL’s leaderboard. Alex Ovechkin leads the league in goals (38) and Nicklas Backstrom leads the league in both assists (45) and points (63). Ovi is also third in the league in points and trails Backstrom by two.

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Braden Holtby Could Have Been a Farmer

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Photo: Monumental Network

ESPN’s Scott Burnside traveled with the Washington Capitals to document the team’s recent annual fathers trip. The whole story is a great read, but my favorite snippet was about Braden Holtby.

Holtby’s father Greg, who was once a junior goaltender with the Saskatoon Blades, revealed that he hoped his son would someday take over the family’s farm. Instead of being the Holtbeast, Braden could have been the Holtcattleherder-– which doesn’t really have the same ring to it.

Greg was, in Burnside’s words, “unfailingly supportive” of tiny Braden’s dream of being a NHL goaltender.

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Is Braden Holtby’s Workload a Problem?

Photo: Amanda Bowen

Braden Holtby has appeared in 49 of the Caps’ 58 games, which has him tied with Cory Schneider for the league lead among NHL goalies.  This puts him on pace to play in 69 games this season, a total that would be the fifth most all-time by a Caps’ goalie 

As the games get more meaningful down the stretch, Holtby’s workload isn’t going to decrease. Alex Prewitt of The Washington Post noted this before the Caps win over the Ducks on Sunday.

If Holtby sits just two times the rest of the way, he will finish the season with 71 appearances. Let’s split the difference between his pace and Alex’s higher estimate and say Holtby will end the season with 70 appearances. A heavy workload, for sure. Some Caps’ fans have expressed concern over Holtby’s regular season workload hindering his playoff performance.

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Sidney Crosby Gently Shoves Braden Holtby (GIF)

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Coming into Tuesday, the Pittsburgh Penguins had been shut out by Braden Holtby in two consecutive games. To try and shake him, the Penguins crashed the net on every play.

That’s cool and all, but the Holtbeast wasn’t impressed. Especially when Chris Kunitz got a wee bit too close to his manimal cage.

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When word spread that six-year-old Bensten got hit by a car sledding late last week, one of the first players to wish him well publicly was Tom Wilson.

Wilson knows a thing or two about fighting, and before Washington’s game against Anaheim Thursday, the enforcer spoke to WUSA’s Surae Chinn and had some uplifting words for the young Caps fan.

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holtby-sauce-pass

When the Caps went on the power play in the second period, Braden Holtby showed off another part of his game that we adore: his offense. After an Oiler shot a puck on net, Holtby gloved the puck out of the air, threw it to the ice, and chucked a 110-foot pass to Troy Brouwer at the opposing blue line.

Dude wanted his seventh career assist.

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