Shootouts on Holtby's to-do list

Shootouts on Holtby's to-do list
January 25, 2011, 4:31 am
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Monday, January 24, 2011, 11:34 p.m.

By Ryan OHalloran
Staff writer

Visitors who intend to watch the Capitals practice Tuesday morning or as long as goalie Braden Holtby remains with the big club might want to start showing up a little early.

Goalies generally practice shootouts at the end of practice, but Holtby may change his routine after allowing three shootout goals in the Capitals 2-1 loss to the New York Rangers Monday.

The ice is a lot more slippery in an NHL shoot-out, he said. Hopefully I can work on it and get out early for practice.

Making his third consecutive start for the Capitals, Holtby stopped the Rangers first 26 shots before a bad-luck tying goal went off the body of New Yorks Marian Gaborik with 6 minutes, 41 seconds left in regulation.

In the shootout, the Rangers Wojtek Wolski and Mats Zuccarello used almost identical moves, getting Holtby out of position, which made him helpless on the new sheet of ice.

The Rangers closed out the win on Artem Anisimovs back-handed shot.

He was a little overly aggressive, coach Bruce Boudreau said of Holtby in the shoot-out.

Said Holtby: I wasnt patient and just efficient with my sliding so it was frustrating. You have to make those saves to win games. I have to see what I can tweak in that aspect.

It was Holtbys first NHL shootout and it didnt take long for him to realize its a lot different than the American Hockey League.

The shootout results aside, it was another solid performance by Holtby, called up last week from Hershey when Michal Neuvirth injured.

In wins over the Islanders and Toronto and the Rangers loss, Holtby has stopped 87 of 90 shots (96.7 percent save percentage).

The Rangers came out with a smart plan against a rookie goalie making only his eighth appearance of the year: Fire the puck and hope for a loose rebound.

We talked about that, shooting pucks even at bad angles, forward Brian Boyle said. We saw some rebounds coming off especially from the bad angles and I hit a couple from the blue line with no traffic that he kind of kicked out for rebounds.

One of those shots by Boyle created New Yorks tying goal when he fired a wrist shot that Holtby saved with his blocker only to have it end up in the net after it hit Gaborik and maybe Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner. The Capitals defense was otherwise again solid.

Its been amazing these last three games, Holtby said. You cant really give them enough credit for how much theyre blocking shots and battling in front. Its the biggest difference Ive noticed coming in to play with this team everybodys sacrificing like Ive never seen before.

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