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Braden Holtby's back-to-back shutouts don't go unnoticed by NHL

Braden Holtby's back-to-back shutouts don't go unnoticed by NHL

Braden Holtby was named the third star of the week, the NHL announced on Monday.

After being pulled against Maple Leafs last Tuesday, the reigning Vezina Trophy responded with back-to-back shutouts over the league-leading Blue Jackets and the Senators.

"Oh yeah?" Holtby told NHL.com's Arpon Basu in Montreal upon learning of the honor.

"Not bad considering I got pulled once this week."

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Holtby enters Monday’s game at Bell Centre tied for first in shutouts (5), tied for second in goals against average (1.93) and tied for third in save percentage (.931).

Four of Holtby’s shutouts have come in his last 11 starts.

He’s expected to get the start Monday night in Montreal. In 12 all-time appearances against the Canadiens, the 27-year-old is 8-1-2 with a 1.64 goals against average and .942 save percentage.

Michael Grabner (5 goals, 2 assists) and Patrick Maroon (5 goals, 1 assist) were the week’s first and second stars, respectively. 

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Caps look to avoid slump after tough loss to Penguins

Caps look to avoid slump after tough loss to Penguins

Regardless of what you thought of the officiating on Monday, the Caps’ nine-game win streak is over and now the team needs to move on. But for a team coming off a lengthy win streak, however, that can be easier said than done.

Teams that put together long streaks as the Caps have tend to struggle after the streak is finally broken. Take for example the Columbus Blue Jackets who came just one win shy of tying the NHL record for the longest streak with 16-straight wins. Since then, however, the Blue Jackets have lost four of their last six.

The fall has been even harder for Philadelphia who have managed a record of only 3-8-3 since winning 10 straight over the course of November and December.

That is a trend Washington will now look to avoid, though Barry Trotz doesn’t sound too concerned.

“There’s bounce back in our game,” Trotz said on Monday after the loss. “I have a lot of trust in this group. We’re a veteran group.”

That was evident on Monday. Washington had to battle back from a two-goal deficit twice just to force overtime and salvage a point against Pittsburgh and that was seeing a 3-0 lead evaporate in the wake of five-straight Penguins goals.

Now Trotz hopes the same resiliency and leadership he saw late against Pittsburgh will help the team avoid a letdown.

“I have a lot of faith in the group that they are good enough to respond after a little bit of adversity,” he said. “We’ve got lots of good leaders on the team.”

MORE CAPITALS: JUSTIN WILLIAMS CALLS THE CAPS' LOSS 'A REALITY CHECK'

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Capitals send Chandler Stephenson back to Hershey after brief call-up

Capitals send Chandler Stephenson back to Hershey after brief call-up

The Capitals have re-assigned forward Chandler Stephenson to AHL Hershey after a brief call-up to the NHL, the team announced Tuesday.

Stephenson, 22, was recalled on Saturday as a precaution and was a healthy scratch for the team's games on Sunday and Monday.

Washington has been playing with the minimum of 12 forwards at home. With the Caps facing a quick turnaround with a game in Washington on Sunday and in Pittsburgh on Monday, the team needed a spare forward in case of an emergency to ensure the team had someone to plug into the lineup if there was an injury.

The Caps returned home after Monday's game in Pittsburgh and have Tuesday off making carrying Stephenson unnecessary. He may be back very soon, however, as the team will almost certainly call up another player prior to leaving for Thursday's game in St. Louis.

In Hershey, Stephenson has scored 23 points this season in 36 games. He played in nine games with the Caps in 2015-16.

RELATED: Prediction recap: Defense was optional in Pittsburgh