Over the course of his illustrious career, Braden Holtby has earned at least one victory against 28 different teams.
The one team last year’s Vezina Trophy winner hasn’t defeated? The Dallas Stars, who visit Verizon Center tonight.
Holtby is 0-3-0 in four appearances against the Stars — he did not receive a decision in one game. In addition, his save percentage (.852) and goals against average (4.42) against Dallas represent the worst numbers he’s posted against any single opponent.
So what gives?
In typical Holtby fashion, the unflappable netminder shrugged when his win-loss record versus the Stars was relayed to him following the morning skate.
“We don’t play them very much,” he said. “Over the years, it hasn’t been too many times. I don’t know? We kinda struggled with them in their rink for a while. But that really doesn’t factor into it; I don’t think three games is a trend over the years. We’re focused on tonight.”
Added Coach Barry Trotz: “I didn’t even know that. To me, he’s going to play goal for the Washington Capitals, and he’s going to win a lot of games. And, at some point, he’ll beat every team in this league more than once. That’s how I look at it.”
The Stars have been a burr under the Caps’ saddle for a long time. Earlier this year, Washington ended a nine-game drought against Dallas with a 4-3 overtime win at American Airlines Center. Jay Beagle scored the game-winner 19 seconds into the extra session; backup goalie Philipp Grubauer got the win.
Tonight, Holtby and the Caps will look to end another drought…and extend a historic streak.
Washington has not defeated Dallas here since Nov. 30, 2006. (The Stars have won the last five meetings on F Street.)
The Caps, meantime, are looking to stretch their franchise-record home winning streak to 16 games.
And, oh yeah, Holtby will get the chance to check that final team off his list.
“They obviously have a dynamic offensive group, so it’s a matter of keeping them in their own end,” Holtby said. “They are going to get some chances and we need to make sure the ‘D’ and goaltending step up.”
Asked what it would mean to him to have wins against every opponent, Holtby said: “It would show consistency, I guess. But I don’t really think about that too often.”