Before this season, Braden Holtby had never gone a month of hockey without winning a game, and when he steps on the ice tonight at the Bell Centre in Montreal, he’ll not only be looking to break the Capitals’ seven-game losing streak.
He’ll be trying to win for the first time since Dec. 7.
“There’s a lesson in every situation, whether everything’s going right or everything’s going wrong,” Holtby said. “I have to find where that positive message is.”
Holtby has lost each of his last four decisions, but has begun piecing his season back together in his last three appearances.
After allowing 18 goals on 91 shots [.723 save percentage] in four losses from Dec. 10 through Jan. 4, Holtby has allowed five goals on 66 shots [.925] save percentage] in his last three appearances.
He said the Capitals reducing their roster from three goalies to two with Monday’s re-assignment of Philipp Grubauer to the AHL Hershey Bears has eased his mind moving forward.
“It takes a lot of things off your mind,” he said. “It’s easier to think without those distractions, when you can play a handful of games and not focus on just one and over-thinking it. But the bottom line is you have to perform every game, no matter when it comes.”
Like most of the Capitals, Holtby invited his father, Greg, on the team’s trip to Newark and Montreal.
A former goaltender, Greg Holtby, 48, served as his son’s goalie instructor and the two share a bond that extends beyond the game.
“He’s the reason I wanted to be a goalie,” Holtby said. “He was my idol growing up. We both think like goaltenders.
“He’s very calm. I had a very fiery temper as a kid, very competitive, and I always admired the fact he always seemed to stay calm no matter what. He never yelled at me, never got frustrated. He was always a calming voice. I do have a bit of him in me that I can get out.”
Now that he is a father, Holtby said he wants to instill some of the lessons he learned from his own father in his son, Benjamin, who will turn 2 in May.
“You see minor hockey and you see the way some parents act and you see how much it hurts the kid,” Holtby said. “I can’t say how fortunate I was to have a dad who never once yelled at me. I’m really lucky.”
Grabovski questionable: Caps center Mikhail Grabovski appeared to injure his leg in the second period of Friday night's 2-1 loss to the Devils and is questionable for tonight.