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Posted at 9:44 AM ET, 01/23/2011

Capitals provide Braden Holtby with plenty of support against Toronto

By Katie Carrera

In Washington's two consecutive road victories this week, the Capitals not only supported rookie goaltender Braden Holtby with goals but blocked shots. Against the Islanders, en route to a 2-1 win in New York, the Capitals got in the way of 20 shots while in Toronto Saturday in a 4-1 win they blocked 27 shots.

Five different players blocked at least three shots, while John Erskine and Mike Green were tied for the game high with four blocks apiece.

"The guys are doing a tremendous job," Holtby said of the support. "I think Karl [Alzner] had about four or five in the first period alone. When you see guys doing that, it makes you want to battle that much more for them."

For Holtby, the 35-save performance that included 18 stops in the third period as the Maple Leafs tried to mount a comeback, was another step forward in proving that he is capable of succeeding in the NHL.

"Feeling comfortable is a good thing," Holtby said. "It's the main thing I wanted to do in getting back in to this league with this team, is make sure that the boys felt that I was confident back there and comfortable with making good saves. That's something I didn't do the last time I was up here. It seems to be going good so far but two games definitely doesn't make a career."

By Katie Carrera  | January 23, 2011; 9:44 AM ET
Categories:  Braden Holtby  
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winning is so much more fun than losing!

Posted by: capscoach | January 23, 2011 10:07 AM | Report abuse

I agree Capscoach!

And BB showing why he is a great coach...put Chimera up on that line...and it's forced Optional and Backstrom to move their butts to keep up with his speed!

Guys, let's not get too ahead though, when on the road, Optional has to conform to home, he's out boozin...

Root for long road trips!

Great job HOLTBY! He, IS the Caps future. Not these two sally's who keep getting hurt!

Posted by: SoaringCaps | January 23, 2011 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Funny how BB keeps apologizing for the lack of flair on offense. That's the reality of playing playoff style, gritty hockey. I also got caught up in the high flying, scorefests but I have to say I am enjoying this brand of hockey. Going to the net; gritty goals; more body; tighter play. We are still giving up some odd man rushes due to missed checks or indecision but we still have lots of games left to work out those kinks!

Posted by: DWGie | January 23, 2011 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Holbty is talented but, he isn't ready for the NHL. He rebound control is poor. Good thing the Caps played defense & blocked shots (and the Leafs didn't nail the open looks that they had).
For all the people whining about the style (system), this is winning hockey. This stuff wins Cups. Ask Steve Yzerman & the Red Wings.
Wow, Ovie can be a complete hockey player. That was one of the best games I've ever seen him play. When the stars commit to playing two-way hockey & the injured return, watch out. The goal differential will increase (Cup winners normally have high goal differentials).

Posted by: chriscaps | January 23, 2011 10:56 AM | Report abuse

highly highly enjoyable gm to watch. Ovechkin was just awesome. Even on the one goal we gave up, all our guys played that shift very well. One of the few times you really have to give credit to the other team for hanging in there with a great effort. But why can't we play that way every game? Our forwards, esp Ovechkin really pressured the point men at our blueline.

Alzner had a strong game defensively as well.

The Leafs despite their record aren't an easy team to play against and for us to go into their arena and play a hard road game like we did and outwork them, that makes me happy. We usually only play a game like that when we're in the midst of a losing streak.

Hendricks. Enough said.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 23, 2011 11:13 AM | Report abuse

For all the people whining about the style (system), this is winning hockey. This stuff wins Cups. Ask Steve Yzerman & the Red Wings

one game does not a season make. Lets not pretend they play like this every game

btw, anyone miss Poti?

Anyone besides Bruce I mean.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 23, 2011 11:15 AM | Report abuse

I think the lack of flair on offense is also a lot to do with Semin and Fehr being hurt, trading Flash (good luck, Flash), Knuble being in-and-out of the line-up (and 38), mike green being in-and-out of the line-up, and all while trying to work in a number of rookies (MaJo, Perriault) at center...

But also the transition to a defense-first-style...Our guys are just going to have to learn to convert on a fewer opportunities...

Posted by: cotelloer | January 23, 2011 11:22 AM | Report abuse

one game does not a season make. Lets not pretend they play like this every game

btw, anyone miss Poti?

Anyone besides Bruce I mean.

Posted by: cstanton1

How bad is that resigning right now? Think about how much more cap flexibility we would have had. Poti was tradeable as an upcoming UFA. With two more years left, his contract is a disaster.

We are two moves away, and now, we have 3 goalies. This is within McPhees grasp. No excuses left.

Posted by: underpants2 | January 23, 2011 11:29 AM | Report abuse

truth is, sometimes injuries make us a better team. If you can't trust your coach/gm to pick the best 18 skaters to play every night, then its left upto injuries to decide a better lineup.

Erskine and Hannan for the most part are a much better combo than anything involving Poti

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 23, 2011 11:47 AM | Report abuse

underpants2: Which of the 3 goalies would you trade? Holtby needs more AHL time to season, watch the game again and look at his rebound control. He easily could be the best of the 3. I sure as hell wouldn't trade Holtby. If 30 or 1 get traded, Sabourin is the backup (not good).
I miss Poti as much as I miss Sloan. The injuries have found us a 1st line combo (until BB changes it).

Posted by: chriscaps | January 23, 2011 12:15 PM | Report abuse


some people said the same thing you are saying about Holtby about Cam Ward the year he won the Cup for Carolina. I dont disagree that he should finish this season in Hershey, but after this season there is no point in making him play another year down there. Does him no good.

Posted by: ThePat | January 23, 2011 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I'll take Sloan over Poti.

And I hope when Semin returns, its Gordo or Perreault who get the boot. Not Beagle.

Basically, Brads and Semin should be replacing Gordo and MP even though position-wise it will take some shuffling. Which is why it would be nice for the Caps to pull off a trade for a capable center now rather than later. McPhee always waits too long and then his options get limited then he overpays for crap. If guys like Fisher are truly going to get moved, then its time to go after em now , not at the deadline.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 23, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse

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