Braden Holtby’s start to the 2013-14 campaign couldn’t have gone much worse, as evidenced by his 6.32 GAA and .822 save percentage. Given that the Washington Capitals have a more than capable backup in Michal Neuvirth, it would have been perfectly understandable to bench Holtby tonight.
Instead Capitals head coach Adam Oates was quick to reinforce his support for Holtby and announce that the 24-year-old netminder would start in his third consecutive game. Holtby appreciates the vote of confidence.
“It’s nice when a coach has trust in you,” Holtby told CSN Washington. “I’d like to get back in there and give a better effort.”
Offensively, the Capitals have been great so far. Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Mikhail Grabovski are three of just four players in the NHL with four or more points. If Holtby can bounce back, the Capitals forwards should be able to take care of the rest.
Washington’s match against the Dallas Stars will begin at 8:00 p.m. ET.
This hasn’t been the best night for St. Louis sports fans.
Obviously, the MLB’s Cardinals getting bounced from the playoffs is a bigger deal, but the Blues face bad news, too.
While they’re currently leading the Calgary Flames by a score of 4-3, they’ll need to hang on without Kevin Shattenkirk, whose night is over thanks to a lower-body injury.
There’s no word yet on how severe the issue might be.
Naturally, the Blues must hope that it’s minor, as Shattenkirk is one of the NHL’s truly underrated assets on the blueline.
Stephanie (@MyRegularFace) tracked down a moment when the injury may have happened:
It’s not all rosy for the Flames, either, as Lance Bouma suffered an injury as well.
In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.
For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.
Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.
Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.
They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.
Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.