We’ve said this before, but Braden Holtby is really good (even when he’s not actually playing in an actual hockey game). Against the Islanders on Thursday night, Holtby was tremendous, stopping 24 of 26 shots. His best save came in the third period on John Tavares, but we didn’t notice until NBCSN showed a slo-mo replay.
And apparently I’m not done writing about Braden Holtby yet today (1, 2). During the team’s morning skate, the Caps had a drill where they shot from point blank on the Holtbeast. Just like against Evander Kane on Monday, Holtby was very much up to the task, making two sensational glove saves. Like listen to the oooohhhhhh’ing of the crowd at Kettler.
The league’s most winningest goalie on the league’s best team, Braden Holtby, recorded a shutout on Monday night against the Buffalo Sabres. It was not easy. Holtby survived two almost-goals, both of which were washed out.
And then, late in the third period with his perfect game on the line, Holtby made a glove save that we thought could only happen inside the Matrix.
Braden Holtby just made the save of the night and maybe the Caps’ save of the season. After denying a shot from the point, Holtby stopped Darren Helm’s rebound attempt on the door step, sweeping away the puck out at the goal line.
Michal Neuvirth has started the last three Caps games, inserting himself back into the Capitals goalie picture after not playing for a month and requesting a trade on December 29th. In the last week, Neuvirth has made big saveafter big save, keeping a defensively inept Caps team capably backstopped in all three starts. The team went 1-1-1 in those games.
Early in the third period of Tuesday’s game against the Islanders, Neuvirth showed off some fantastic lateral movement, robbing Frans Nielsen on a clear one-timer.
Michal Neuvirth may not have played very much this season. And sure, maybe he missed an entire month of action because he stepped on a puck going out for warm-ups. But dang it, tonight things were going to change, and he was not going to let anybody ruin it.
Case in point, his first period save on Gustav Nyquist. It was incredible.
The Washington Capitals are kind of wretched when it comes to preventing odd-man rushes. A third period shorthanded chance for the Tampa Bay Lightning should’ve knotted the game at three, but Philipp Grubauer‘s cyborg groin was all over it.
After having one of their best periods of play all season, the Washington Capitals completely collapsed in the second, allowing the Pittsburgh Penguins to score five unanswered goals. Five. That’s painful to type. It was more painful to watch. Michal Neuvirth, who started the game in net, was pulled mid-way through for Braden Holtby after looking shaky on two goals. Holtby fared no better, giving up three goals on his first twelve shots.
There was one good moment however — a spectacular, amazing, did-that-just-really-happen one. On one of the Penguins bajillion (maybe more) power plays in the second period, Evgeny Malkin found Sidney Crosby streaking wide open in the slot. As Crosby took the pass, he attempted to tap the puck into the wide open net on his forehand.
Holtby, however, had other ideas.
As the puck starts careening towards the yawning net, Holtby throws his paddle down in a move of desperation.