It is possible that Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby will start against the New York Islanders on Friday night (7:30 PM Eastern on NBC Sports Washington) after missing the past two games with an eye injury.
Caps coach Todd Reirden said it is possible that Braden Holtby starts vs. Isles tomorrow, but they want to see how his eye is in the morning.
Reirden also said they’re considering calling up another goalie in case Holtby can’t start tomorrow.
So, it’s pretty up in the air.
— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) January 17, 2019
Holtby, 29, left in the second period of the Capitals’ 2-1 overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday after getting high-sticked in the face by forward Cam Atkinson in the crease and has served as a back-up the past two games, but hasn’t been well enough to play.
The team could call up a goaltender, most likely Ilya Samsonov, who is 7-11-0 with a save percentage of .871 and a goals-against average of 3.40 with the AHL’s Hershey Bears this season and has posted shutouts in each of his previous two starts, before the game according to head coach Todd Reirden.
Holtby, who is 17-10-2 with a save percentage of .912, a goals-against average of 2.85, and two shutouts this season, said his vision is getting better after practice.
Holtby said his vision just didn’t progress to the point he and the team had hoped, but it’s getting better. As for tomorrow, “we’ll see tomorrow,” he said.
— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) January 17, 2019
Reirden said after practice that the team wanted to call up a goalie in case Holtby can’t go tomorrow so goaltender Pheonix Copley won’t be forced to stay in the entire game, like he did in the Capitals’ 7-2 blowout loss to the Nashville Predators on Tuesday. Copley, 26, made only 22 saves in the loss, his worst outing of the season to date.
Braden Holtby updates the media on his status heading into Friday’s game against the Islanders. #ALLCAPS #CapsIsles pic.twitter.com/oMYtInJCzj
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) January 17, 2019
By Harrison Brown
The news on Holtby’s eye makes me nervous, for the immediate term. Odds are, Holtby will probably be fine next week, with no problem. But iffy for tomorrow. Confess I would have recommended calling up one of the kids from Hershey (either Vanacek or Samsonov) after Saturday’s game. But Hershey had 3 games back to back and the Caps had back to back games on Monday or Tuesday. So schedule was a bit dicey.
I also hear that they have injuries to their ECHL goaltending corps, including Parker Milner.