With goaltender Philipp Grubauer re-signing with the Capitals on a one-year contract extension, the one-two punch goaltending duo of Braden Holtby and Grubauer will (likely) be back in D.C. for another season. NoVa Caps’ writer Michael Marzzacco takes a look back at the five best games of their respective NHL careers.
5. His first start (11/7/10):
Braden Holtby made his NHL debut two nights prior against the Boston Bruins, coming into the game in relief for Michal Neuvirth after he allowed three consecutive goals with 10 minutes left in the third period. Holtby made his first NHL start two nights later, stopping 23 of 25 shots he faced in a 3-2 win over the Flyers.
4. 44-save performance in the playoffs (4/19/12):
Braden Holtby became a household name for Capitals fans during the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. At just 22-years old, he was thrown into playoff action for the first time as the Capitals were in a fierce battle with the then-defending champion Boston Bruins. In Game 4 of their first round series, he stopped 44 of 45 shots en-route to a 2-1 win that evened the series at two. The Capitals would go on to win the series in seven games.
3. Glove save! (10/14/13):
Holtby stopped 28 of 30 shots, but none was more impressive than the diving glove save he had to rob Edmonton Oilers forward David Perron in a 4-2 win in a game in October 2013.
2. Shutting out the Blue Jackets (1/5/17):
Holtby stopped all 29 shots he faced in a 5-0 rout of the Columbus Blue Jackets. The win snapped the Blue Jackets’ 16-game winning streak, just one shy of the NHL record.
1. Tying Martin Brodeur (4/9/16):
In the penultimate game of the 2015-16 regular season, Holtby showed up in net and earned his 48th win of the season, tying future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur’s record of most regular season wins by a goaltender that was set during the 2006-07 season. Holtby stopped 19 of 20 shots in a 5-1 win.
5. 2015 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals Game 2 vs. Islanders (4/17/15):
This game was Grubauer’s first playoff start and it came at the last possible minute after the Caps found out Braden Holtby was sick prior to the game. He stopped 18 of 21 shots and made timely saves late in the game as the Caps rallied for a 4-3 win to even the series.
4. The second star of the night (1/10/16):
In a night that belonged to Alex Ovechkin as he scored his 500th goal, Grubauer perhaps could’ve been the second star of the night as he nearly blanked the Ottawa Senators, stopping 32 of 33 shots in a 7-1 rout.
3. Relief work (1/17/16):
One week after that last game mentioned, Grubauer shutout the Rangers in their first visit to D.C. since the previous year’s Eastern Conference semifinals. Grubauer came into the game in relief of Holtby after he exited the game late in the second period due to dehydration. Holtby allowed two goals, but Grubauer shut them out the rest of the way, stopping all 11 shots he faced. Former Capitals right wing Justin Williams recorded a hat trick as the Caps won 5-2.
2. 2016-17 Debut (10/18/16):
The Capitals hosted the Colorado Avalanche in their second home game of this past season. Prior to this game, Holtby was honored at a pregame ceremony for tying Martin Brodeur’s historic wins record the previous season. The night would later belong to Gruby, as he recorded a shutout and stopped all 18 shots he faced in a 3-0 Capitals win.
1. Super Bowl Sunday Shutout (2/5/17):
Before the Falcons blew a 28-3 lead to the Patriots, Grubauer had a super start for the Capitals in a 5-0 rout over the Kings. In a day that belonged to Alex Ovechkin, (the Caps gave out over 18,000 Ovi cut-out heads celebrating his 1,000th point), it was Grubauer who stole the show.
Grubauer outshined Peter Budaj, who was heading into the game with a shutout streak of over 145 minutes. The Capitals ended the streak at 147:21 with a goal from Lars Eller. Marcus Johansson, Brett Connolly, T.J. Oshie, and Justin Williams also found the back of the net.
Grubauer earned the shutout, his third of the season at the time, by stopping all 38 shots he faced.
By Michael Marzzacco