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Holtby gets start versus Bruins, with Halak lurking

Mar 6, 2014, 2:38 PM EDT

Braden Holtby Getty Images

The day after getting pulled halfway through a 6-4 loss to Philadelphia, Braden Holtby will get another start in goal for the Capitals, this one tonight in Boston against the Bruins.

It’s a decision by coach Adam Oates that took some by surprise, especially given Washington’s acquisition of Jaroslav Halak yesterday. The Caps are in a desperate fight to make the playoffs, and currently they’re on the outside looking in.

“Hopefully we play better in front of Braden,” Oates said, per the Washington Post. “He had a good game [in Boston] a few days ago. The team played pretty solid that game as well. Hopefully we can draw on that and the second half of last night and have a good game.”

The Holtby-or-Halak storyline should be an interesting one to follow down the stretch. The fact the Caps haven’t missed the playoffs since 2007 will only add to the drama.

Related: Sabres say Neuvirth needs to ‘feel some love again’

  1. ibieiniid - Mar 6, 2014 at 2:46 PM

    Holtby’s proving his alternating polarity more and more. One day, he’s an all-star. next day, he’s a schlub. in my opinion, he’ll settle in sooner or later. it seems to me that he gets rattled… but doesn’t dwell on it for long, and he’s back to himself days later. he needs to work on that mental toughness if he wants the starter role now.

    • blomfeld - Mar 6, 2014 at 9:47 PM

      WITH HALAK ‘LURKING’ ?

      For a second there I thought this article was about Tiger ? :)
      Seriously though, Halak is ‘good’ people and therefore this at least ‘guarantees’ the Caps making the playoffs. Nonetheless, the ‘Ovechkin’ question’ still remains and that will have to be addressed before any ‘serious’ SC notions can be entertained.

  2. rsl22 - Mar 6, 2014 at 2:51 PM

    How is it possible to start a guy, in the second of a back-to-back, who has given up 8 goals in his last 40 minutes after trading for a goalie that has far, far better numbers?

    The treatment of Holtby as the second coming of Patrick Roy in DC continues….unbelievable, even for the Caps.

    • ibieiniid - Mar 6, 2014 at 2:53 PM

      far, far better numbers on the Blues than on the Caps. the difference between their skill levels isn’t that far off. it’s the right move. why shake Holtby into Neuvirth’s role IMMEDIATELY. these ARE humans, not fantasy players.

      • rsl22 - Mar 6, 2014 at 3:10 PM

        Holtby: 3.01 GAA, .909 S%
        Grubauer: 2.38 GAA, .925 S%
        Neuvirth: 2.82 GAA, .914 S%
        Halak: 2.23 GAA, .917 S%

        His GAA is 59th in the league, S% is 49th. Worse than Neuvirth, Grubauer, and Halak.

        The Caps, and all Caps fans, believe that because of one series against the Bruins three years ago, Holtby is the saving grace of this team. It’s not happening. They have 19 games left, and giving away 2 points tonight is only going to make the team’s job that much harder.

      • ibieiniid - Mar 6, 2014 at 3:23 PM

        the important takeaway is that Halak has a .917 and holtby has a .909. again, not that far apart skill-wise, but Holtby (seeing as how he’s signed) has far more of a future with the Caps than Halak probably has. there’s no way you shake the confidence of your starter by immediately giving away his job.

      • ibieiniid - Mar 6, 2014 at 3:25 PM

        also, a lot of Caps fans aren’t basing their opinions strictly on the numbers but rather…. say… watching the games. he’s a talent. he’s not that mentally tough at this moment. he’s got some growing to do still. replacing him isn’t going to accomplish that.

      • bethgoesglobal - Mar 6, 2014 at 3:44 PM

        But couldn’t Holtby’s play last night hint at the idea that he has been rattled by the addition of Halak? I agree that, especially in a back-to-back situation, the Caps should probably go to Halak. However, given the fragility of Holtby’s confidence this season maybe they think that by giving him the start tonight they are reinforcing their faith in his abilities.

      • rsl22 - Mar 6, 2014 at 4:00 PM

        Well, when he gives up 4-5 goals again tonight, what’s the excuse then? He was tired?

      • rsl22 - Mar 6, 2014 at 4:01 PM

        ibieiniid…the important takeaway isn’t about Halak, but that Neuvirth and Grubauer, with the same team in front of them, had better numbers than Holtby. I posit that Halak, with that same team in front of him, will likewise post better numbers than Holtby.

  3. vbcaps - Mar 6, 2014 at 3:59 PM

    So if holtby wins tonight (and plays well), does that mean he starts in the next game as well?

    • bethgoesglobal - Mar 6, 2014 at 6:51 PM

      That’s a good question. The next game is on Sat with the Coyotes coming to DC followed by a back-2-back series with Pittsburgh. Personally I would definitely go with Halak against Phoenix.

      First, Halak is probably more familiar w/Phoenix since they also in the Western Conf. Secondly, I’m sure he would do well to have a game to get better acclimated to the Caps style of play. That would let Halak get make those 1st game adjustments before having to face the Penguins.

  4. jhaegs - Mar 6, 2014 at 11:02 PM

    Goldberg could be in net and you’ll still lose when you give up 40+ shots… Screw defense though, Ovi has a sick slapper… right?

  5. drewsylvania - Mar 7, 2014 at 10:27 AM

    Comparing Halak’s numbers with Holtby’s is a fool’s errand. Washington’s defense sucks, while St. Louis’ is excellent.

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