Holtby hopes to keep streak alive

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Holtby hopes to keep streak alive

NEW YORK -- Braden Holtbys NHL resume is not the most extensive, but it is worth noting he has gone 24 straight NHL starts without losing consecutive games.

I didnt even know how many it is, Holtby said after Mondays morning skate at Madison Square Garden.

Maybe the key is to keep a level head through the highs and lows. Never having two bad games in a row is the key to consistency and I want to have a solid performance.

Holtby allowed three goals on 18 shots in Saturdays series-opening 3-1 loss to the Rangers. One goal came on a wraparound stuffer by Artem Anisimov, another on a gloveside slapper by Chris Kreider and a third on an uncontested 5-hole shot by Brad Richards.

Holtbys loss dropped his post-season record to 4-4 and raised his GAA to 2.13 and his save percentage to .931. His counterpart, Hart Trophy finalist Henrik Lundqvist, is now 5-3 in the playoffs with a 1.61 GAA and .945 save percentage.

Ive said this before, Holtby said. Its the Caps against the Rangers. My job is to control their offensive pushes and out job is to push against Lundqvist.

Schultz ready: Caps defenseman Jeff Schultz said hes ready to jump back into the lineup after getting scratched in favor of John Erskine in Game 1.

With New York having the benefit of the last line change, look for Rangers coach John Tortorella to match his top line of Richards between Carl Hagelin and right wing Marian Gaborik.

A guy like Gaborik is real fast and he kind of likes to sneak behind you and hang out a little higher in the offensive zone than most wingers, Schultz said. Theyre really good at give-and-goes. We need to be in good passing lines and stay in that guy going to the net.

Ratings sweep: NBCs coverage of its first two Conference Semifinal games averaged a 1.7 overnight rating, the best for weekend coverage of the second round in eight years and up six percent over last years coverage. Capitals-Rangers on Saturday and Devils-Flyers on Sunday produced the best overnight average for weekend coverage of the second round since two-game regional coverage on ABC 1.9 on May 1, 2004.
Saturdays Game 1 between the Caps and Rangers received a 1.5 overnight rating. The game received a 3.5 rating in New York and a 5.2 rating in Washington, down slightly from a 5.3 in 2009 for a second-round game against the Penguins.

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'I'm letting all hell break loose' – Josh Norman belittles Dez Bryant and Odell Beckham Jr.

'I'm letting all hell break loose' – Josh Norman belittles Dez Bryant and Odell Beckham Jr.

NFC East opponents don't challenge Josh Norman. Dez Bryant and Odell Beckham, Jr. are fake tough, no real threat to him. Not like some other receivers in the NFL. 

At least that's how the Redskins corner described them in a wide-ranging interview with Bleacher Report published on Thursday. 

The gist? The Cowboys and Giants stars get no respect from Norman, though both were involved in memorable feuds with him the past year. 

Norman got his first opportunity to talk trash when asked to do word association with the name "Dez Bryant." He took the opening and returned it for a touchdown. 

"That's a guy. Just a guy. Dez was Dez in 2012, '13, '14. Maybe '14. Now? He's a guy," Norman said.

"He doesn't 'wow' you. For me, he don't. For other guys, he probably will do the worst to them because he'll bully them. But you can't bully a bully. You know what I'm saying? That's why his game doesn't resonate to me."

To jog your memory, Norman and Bryant went at it after the Cowboys beat the Redskins on Thanksgiving last year. Bryant said Washington should get a refund on Norman's contract. There was also drama about whether Norman falsely accused Bryant of threatening to "unload the clip" on him.

Real mature, substantive conflict. 

RELATED: Redskins’ Norman confident that changes will improve defense

The Redskins corner didn't go any easier on Beckham, who of all receivers in the league has had the most explosive run-ins with Norman. 

In fact, Beckham's helmet-to-helmet hit on Norman in a 2015 contest between the Giants and Panthers led the NFL to change rules for ejections. Beckham had racked up three unnecessary roughness penalties in that game. 

"[Beckham] tries to be a tough guy. He tries to put on this persona which he's not. Because he's always going to have his head on a swivel. Always. Always when we play each other," Norman said, suggesting that he's able to push OBJ over the edge and out of control. 

"He's scary like that. He does things that he normally wouldn't do because of all the pressure and added hype that he has to put on his whole persona. He's not this guy. If you go back and watch the games in which we play compared to the games we don't play each other, he's a totally different guy."

"When people get physical, tough, like the Minnesota game, he acts out. He's a kid. He's a big kid, man," Norman concluded.

It must have been an exercise in restraint not to mention OBJ's kicking-net tantrum after losing to the Redskins last year. 

As the interview moved on, there wasn't a receiver that drew respect from Norman until the name Julio Jones came up. Norman got to see the Falcons receiver twice a year when he played for Carolina in the NFC South. 

"Now, that is the ultimate challenge. That's when I can do things in a split-second, a millisecond, just choo-choo-choo," Norman said of facing Jones. He said he's missed that challenge since moving to the NFC East. 

"It's the worst. Because I'm just battling 'guys.' I'm not battling against something I can call 'greatness.' I'm not enhancing my craft. Don't get me wrong. They're tough. But they're not [Jones]," he said. He also named Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown and Chicago's Alshon Jeffrey as other receivers who could provide a real test. 

But whether those matchups excite Norman or not, he knows they can't touch the hype of NFC East showdowns, especially ones involving Beckham. 

"That game gets so hyped up by the time we play them, it won't even be Giants vs. Washington—it'll be me and him. ... Because now you have us on Thanksgiving Night. C'mon, man!"

The interview ended with Norman looking forward to playing with new Redskins safety DJ Swearinger, who has a reputation as a hard-hitting intimidator.

"Trust me when I tell you, it's going to be bad blood this year. You think the NFC East didn't like each other before? This year right here? There's going to be a lot of fines and maybe some suspensions. I'm going to be honest with you: This s--- is going to get really ugly. Because I do have a safety that don't give a f--- and I definitely don't. And I know they don't have that many people on the offense who do on their side."

"I'm letting all hell break loose."

MORE REDSKINS: Josh Doctson ready to show the NFL, "I'm good at what I do"

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A handy-dandy guide to the Caps' free agents

A handy-dandy guide to the Caps' free agents

If you are a fan of the Capitals, you have been hearing for a long time about how difficult this offseason is going to be because of how many expiring contracts the team has. There are a bunch and it can be hard to keep track of.

Luckily, we are here for you. Here is a handy-dandy guide to all of the Caps' pending free agents.

Why is everyone assuming Evgeny Kuznetsov will be re-signed but keeping T.J. Oshie will be difficult? Who is unrestricted and restricted? What are the chances players like Daniel Winnik and Brett Connolly return?

We have all the answers. Check out the guide to Caps free agency here and impress your friends with all your hockey knowledge.