Carey Price is considered the best goalie in the world.
On Monday, however, Capitals' Braden Holtby was the best goalie on the ice as he led Washington to a 4-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens.
Here’s a recap of the three bold predictions.
1. Justin Williams will get at least a point - Correct
Williams earned an assist on Evgeny Kuznetsov’s game-winning goal in the third period. Granted, Kuznetsov did all the work, but a point is a point. He now has 16 points in his last 17 games.
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2. The Caps will get at least 25 shots on goal - Correct
I’ll admit, I was debating whether to go with 25 or 30 when I first made the prediction. Eventually, I went with 25 because...well, I’ve been on a cold streak and sometimes you just need to take the chip-shot field goal to get points on the board. In my defense, I would have been right either way as Washington put up a whopping 39 shots on Carey Price.
3. Braden Holtby will earn a higher save percentage than Price - Correct
It was an off night for Price who saved 35 of 39 shots for a save percentage of .897. That’s not what we’ve come to expect from him given his level of talent. Holtby was not able to extend his shutout streak to three games, but he was still fantastic in net. The Caps netminder allowed only one goal on 23 shots for a save percentage of .957, easily outpacing Price.
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Prediction Results for 2017: The streak is over thanks to a clean sweep. Finally, the new year is off on the right foot.
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.”
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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.
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