Caps week in review: 12.12.13
Like most NHL goaltenders, Capitals netminder Braden Holtby never wants to be pulled from a hockey game.
But the way he reacted after getting pulled 11:07 into Tuesday night’s come-from-behind 6-5 shootout win over the Tampa Bay Lightning underscored just how much Holtby wanted to stay in the game after allowing three goals.
“I never want to blame a coach for a decision he makes, whether it’s me or anyone else on the team,” Holtby said Wednesday. “But at the same time, that’s a time I want to battle with the team to get out of the hole.
“I was a part of us getting behind 3-0 and I wanted to be part of getting us back. But if [Oates] feels it’s better to make a switch that’s his decision.”
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The Lightning’s first two power play goals came through screens and Holtby said he didn’t see either one. The Lighting’s third goal came on a 2-on-1 rush and Holtby darted from his left to his right, but was unable to get a piece of Nate Thompson’s shot.
“I got a good push to get there,” Holtby said. “I wanted to get there with my arm and my pad sealed, but I’m just being picky.”
As it turned out Philipp Grubauer replaced Holtby and turned aside 32 of 34 shots to earn his second NHL victory. After the game, Oates said he did what he thought was best for his team.
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“I had to do something,” Oates said. “We shot ourselves in the foot every which way. They get the third one and there’s way too much game left. I’ve got to do something and unfortunately, that’s one of the options.”
With Michal Neuvirth [lower body injury] likely to be removed from the injured list and Grubauer expected to be re-assigned to Hershey, Holtby is expected to be back between the pipes Friday night in Sunrise, Fla., when the Caps [17-12-2] visit the Panthers [10-17-5].
“All you can do is move forward and not lose confidence in yourself,” Holtby said. “You want to prove you can be a big part of it, to make one of those saves to keep it close.”