Great players can be memorable even without a signature moment … but it doesn’t hurt to stack up a few of them, anyway.
After a tough outing in Game 1, Braden Holtby was a rock for the Washington Capitals in Game 2, stopping 37 out of 39 shots to anchor a 3-2 win against the Vegas Golden Knights. That meant making 10 shorthanded saves, with many of those stops came as the Golden Knights were pressing for a tie during a lengthy 5-on-3 opportunity.
Once again, Holtby and the Capitals proved their resiliency in tying this series 1-1.
Over the long haul, many of us will forget many of the details of that game, including Holtby’s overall performance. Few will forget the ridiculous save Holtby made on Alex Tuch with about two minutes remaining in Game 2, however.
There were Dominik Hasek comparisons. You could call it his version of Marc-Andre Fleury sprawling to stop Nicklas Lidstrom as the Penguin won their first Stanley Cup of the Sidney Crosby Era, although that save does have the edge when you weight for stakes.
Either way, you can expect that save to live on in highlight reels for years to come. Sorry, Alex Tuch.
Alex Ovechkin was all of us reacting to that save, honestly.
Holtby spoke about some of the odd bounces so far during the 2018 Stanley Cup Final, and explained his save as the puck “hitting” him.
“It was a strange play because these boards have been really true. It was kind of one of things we’ve been trying to get it up on the glass and on the rim because goalies usually stay in the net, but Marc-Andre’s been coming out a lot to get those because [the boards have] been so true,” Holtby said. “One bounces weird at that time of the game, [Cody Eakin] makes a great play to pass it over. I was just trying to get something there, trying to seal where I thought someone would shoot that and luckily it hit me.”
For more on Washington’s win, click here.
• NBC’s Stanley Cup Playoff Hub
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.