Braden Holtby Looks for Redemption Tonight


Braden Holtby has not had the season that he nor the Capitals had envisioned. After two straight seasons of success that featured a 48-win season that tied record of the legendary Martin Brodeur and led to a Vezina trophy in 2015-16 and a 42-win season in 2016-17 that nominated him as a candidate for the Vezina Trophy, the Holtbeast hasn’t been the same. Tonight, Holtby will look to begin his turnaround as he faces the Tampa Bay Lightning

While a 28-11-4 record is respectable, Holtby has an alarming career-high 2.92 goals-against average and a career-low .911 save percentage. Additionally, Holtby has yet to record a shutout this season. The last time that Holtby allowed just one goal in a game came on Nov. 18 in a win over the Wild. Holtby has also dropped three of his last five games and was pulled from Saturday’s game against the Blackhawks after allowing six goals. The Blackhawks had lost eight in a row entering that contest.

Part of the problem could come from the blueline. Losing the likes of Nate Schmidt, Karl Alzner and Kevin Shattenkirk has left a void. Another issue is some of the costly turnovers from veterans such as Brooks Orpik or any of the young players. Granted, Christian Djoos and Madison Bowey are still new to the game at the NHL level so rookie mistakes happen. Despite that, the defense has plenty of time to turn things around and the addition of a veteran in  in Michal Kempny will be a huge help.

Even though Holtby has struggled recently sometimes one good game can lead to another and could turn things around. Holtby hasn’t faced the Lightning yet this season but has had success against them in the past carrying a 9-2-2 record all-time vs. the Bolts.


The keys to the Capitals giving Holtby a good shot at winning will come down to keeping Nikita Kucherov in check. He leads the NHL in points with 77 and is third in the league in goals with 31, four behind league-leading Alex Ovechkin.

Another big key will be to stay out of the box. The Lightning have the league’s second best power play with a conversion rate of 24.5%, just 2% behind the Pittsburgh Penguins. When the Capitals faced the Penguins earlier this month, the Penguins scored three of their seven goals on the man-advantage. The Capitals need to do much better this time around.

With 28 wins this season, there’s still plenty of hope that the Holtbeast can turn it around. Holtby’s 28 wins are good for fifth in the league and he is well on pace for 39 wins. If he can get to 40 wins, he’ll become the first goaltender in NHL history with four consecutive 40-win seasons. Before 40 can happen, he’s just focusing on getting win #29.

By Michael Marzzacco

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2 Responses to Braden Holtby Looks for Redemption Tonight

  1. Diane Doyle says:

    Except redemption still didn’t happen.

  2. Roberto says:

    Holtby is just having an offseason. I saw it in the Pens series last year. Just allowing too many soft goals and not coming up with the big save often enough. Might be best to sit him a bit so he can regroup

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