Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Holtby stonewalls Lightning in shootout

With one thing at stake on Monday night in Tampa the Capitals knew they had to come through with a win. However things didn’t get off to a good start when the first shot by the Lightning struck Michal Neuvirth straight in the mask taking it off his head. He would remain in goal for the remainder of the first. Braden Holtby would come in as the replacement at the start of the second period.
Before the first was over Tampa Bay was first on the scoreboard when Martin St. Louis wristed a shot that was deflected by Sean Bergenheim passed Neuvy. This happened on Washington’s second penalty kill of the night just four seconds in. The Capitals failed on all four of their power play chances including a 4 on 3 in overtime.
There was no scoring in the second period but many shots and hits. Each team logged the most shots on goal in the second period with Tampa outshooting the Caps 14-10. This shot fiesta featured the skills of Braden Holtby who came in cold turkey and made many spectacular saves.
The Capitals didn’t tickle the twine until late in the third period by none other than Alex Semin. Dennis Wideman found Semin and he did the rest when he sniped Dwayne Roloson for the tying goal. Alex Ovechkin also assisted on the goal. Ovi now has an assist in each of his last 5 games.
This took the game to overtime for the second straight night. As stated earlier the Capitals had the best opportunities on a 4 on 3 but, simply couldn’t best Roloson. The buzzer sounded at the end of overtime and many Caps fans were worried remembering Holtby being outmatched in his last shootout. He answered the critics behind their televisions by stopping all three of the Lightning’s shots. Alex Ovechkin would score the game winning shootout goal when he roofed the goaltender and popped his bottle off the top of the net. Ovi poppin bottles!!!!!!!!
This was a monumental win for the Capitals and proved too many that they are a legit contender for Lord Stanley. Braden Holtby is the third string goalie and he looked like he could be playing with any goaltender in the league. Not to mention the 21 year old has given up only three goals in his last four games, winning three of those contests. The missing pieces are here Washington fans as I keep saying each day. Tampa Bay now trails the Caps by 3 points with playing one less game.
The Caps will head back to DC and have an optional practice tomorrow at Kettler Iceplex. They will then take on the Edmonton Oilers of the Western Conference on Wednesday night. The Oilers are currently the worst team in the West and will be playing the Philadelphia Flyers the night before so the Caps should have no problem handing them a beating for their sixth straight win. There is no exact timetable on either Mike Green or Eric Fehr’s return but it should not be long before we see them back out on the ice. Tune in Wednesday night at 7. Rock the Red!
Player of the Game: Braden Holtby (21 saves, 0 goals allowed)

Stat of the Game: Shootout win (Caps first since Nov. 28th)

Unsung Hero: Dennis Wideman

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