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During the first intermission, former NHL great Jeremy Roenick was asked what he thought of Braden Holtby‘s effort on the Pittsburgh Penguins’ two first period goals. Instead of using words, Roenick decided to go the caveman route, making a series of grunts and hand signals.

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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.

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Despite a pretty shaky defense, Washington Capitals starting goaltender Braden Holtby has been sensational this season. His .920 save percentage is above average and winning games. He has made the fifth most saves in the NHL. Since those struggles in the opening weeks, he’s been good almost every night.

On Friday, The Holtbeast bailed the Caps out again, stopping 27 of Detroit’s 28 even-strength shots and 34 out of 37 overall. His best save of the night came 15 minutes into the game, as Tomas Tatar tried to stuff a wraparound.

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Swedish artist David Gunnarsson released photos of the newest mask he finished painting this morning. Lo and behold, it’s for Washington Capitals starting goaltender Braden Holtby. Gunnarsson has entitled it “Number 70 of the Capitals.” The mask is stylized to go with the Caps’ third jerseys, the same vintage sweaters that they wore during the Winter Classic in 2011.

Gunnarsson, in his very odd/excitable dialect, walked us through the story behind Holtby’s new bucket on his Facebook page.

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Just a quick item for your lunchtime perusal.

As Uncle Ted himself pointed out earlier, despite the Capitals in the top 5 in the league in goals for, they are currently are 20th in the league in goals against with 52.

That goals-against count comes despite strong numbers from the goalies. Braden Holtby is sporting a fantastic .922 save percentage, Michal Neuvirth a decent .913.

As that suggests, the Capitals are allowing lots of shots on goal. They are 25th in the league in allowing shots on goal during 5-on-5 in close-game situations.

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Photo credit: Eric Hartline

Fighting in the NHL has been on the decline. It might be on its way out of the sport. Roster spots for goons are dwindling. Nerds have found no evidence that fighting impacts winning.

Yet on Friday night in Philadelphia, the Flyers decided the only way to save face after a figurative beatdown from the Caps was a literal beatdwn. Once Joel Ward scored his hat-trick goal, Wayne Simmonds threw an elbow to incite a fight with Tom Wilson. Ray Emery, Flyers back-up goalie and trained boxer, skated all the way down the ice and started throwing punches at Braden Holtby — even though Holtby declined to fight.

Steve Oleksy then dropped Vincent Lecalvier. Alexander Urbom fought Brayden Schenn. There was also a bit of loud noises from John Carlson.

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Watch John Carlson Get Super Pissed at the Emery ‘Fight’

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Photo credit: Eric Hartline

The Flyers-instigated brawl during Friday night’s game was an ugly scene for the league. Whatever your view of fighting, that a bloodthirsty player could get away with assaulting an unwilling opponent pulls the NHL towards the pro wrestling side of the spectrum. In the moment when Ray Emery attacked fellow goalie Braden Holtby, it was kind of hard to tell the difference between the two.

“He didn’t want to fight,” Emery told Chuck Gormley. “I said, basically, ‘Protect yourself.’ He didn’t really have much of a choice.”

Kind of like a mugging.

The Capitals were outraged that referee Francois St. Laurent let the ‘fight’ go on considering only one participant appeared to be willing.  Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson, in particular, was peeved. As he should be.

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Wut. (GIF by welshhockeyfan)

The Washington Capitals destroyed the Philadelphia Flyers. Once Joel Ward scored his hat-trick goal in the third period, the Caps’ 7th of the game, shit got out of hand.

Wayne Simmonds dropped his gloves with Tom Wilson, and that set everything off. In its culmination, Philly goalie Ray Emery skated the length of the ice to pick a fight with Braden Holtby. Emery, a noted goalie pugilist, punched Holtby in the back of the head a few times.

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Photo credit: Derek Leung

The Washington Capitals gave up three goals to the Calgary Flames in the first period on Saturday night. With his team on the verge of a total collapse, head coach Adam Oates pulled Braden Holtby from net, looking to change the game’s momentum. We thought at the time that the Holtbeast did not handle it well.

Holtby skated over, lifted up his mask, and began hurling profanities towards the bench. Later, when we saw a second angle on CBC’s After Hours, Caps defense coach Calle Johansson seemed very interested in what Holtby was saying.

Wednesday, on DC101′s Elliot In the Morning, Caps forward Jason Chimera was asked about the blow-up during an interview with the popular radio host.

In an honest response, The Ice Cheetah explained that Holtby was trying to fire up the team. Chimera even intimated some of what Holtby said when he came to the bench.

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Washington Capitals head coach Adam Oates had a long, insightful interview with CBC’s After Hours’ Scott Oake and Kelly Hrudey following the Caps’ 5-2 loss to the Calgary Flames. Oates could have been a big curmudgeon after his team’s embarrassing loss on Hockey Night In Canada. Instead, he was open, honest, and he gave insight into his long playing career and the way he coaches his players.

If I had unlimited time with Capitals players, this is exactly the type of interview I’d want to conduct. Maybe with a few more jokes.

Oates talks in detail about Ovechkin’s renaissance under his tutelage. He defends Braden Holtby‘s angry shouting at the bench after being pulled. He defends his comments about Tomas Hertl‘s “disrespectful” between-the-legs goal. He shares a humorous story from his Caps playing days about he and Calle Johansson‘s beef at practices. He even gets asked about his resemblance to actor Ray Liotta.

It’s an amazing interview. Since I have no regard to my own health or actually sleeping, I transcribed this whole mamma jamma for you. Check it out below and buy a t-shirt or something to repay me.

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