The Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers entered Wednesday Night Hockey as two of the hotter teams in the NHL. While something had to give, it’s fitting that the two rising clubs needed a shootout to settle things.
Overall, it was quite the goalie duel between Braden Holtby and Carter Hart, with the Capitals ultimately taking the 3-2 (SO) win.
There are also some parallels between Holtby and Hart, specifically.
Each goalie carried four-game winning streaks into this game, showing signs of getting on track despite slow starts (Holtby had a .898 save percentage before the bout, while Hart lagged behind even further with a mark of .893).
Holtby ended up prevailing, improving his winning streak to five games, and he hasn’t been dinged with a loss since Oct. 10. Despite individual struggles, Holtby is now 9-1-3 in a crucial contract year for the 30-year-old.
Not nearly as much money hinges on how Hart fares in 2019-20, being that the 21-year-old still has two seasons remaining on his RFA deal. That said, Hart generated hype with Philly late last season, and Flyers fans are always eager to see a goalie actually deliver — to the point where it has to really heighten the pressure for netminders who might be vulnerable to such attention.
[More: reasons for optimism for Philly fans.]
Again, both goalies delivered. Holtby stopped 30 out of 31 shots and got the W, while Hart earned the Flyers a point after making 35 of 36 saves.
Not cooling off yet
At this rate, the Capitals’ quiet dominance might build to a roar. They improved to 14-2-4, continuing an 11-0-2 point streak that began on Oct. 14. With their next game coming against the Canadiens on Friday (Nov. 15), that means Washington is now on a month-long point streak. Impressive stuff.
The Flyers finished the night at 10-5-3, which is quite impressive after a 2-3-1 start to 2019-20. Their winning streak stopped at four games, but their point streak is growing, as it is now at seven games (5-0-2).
Both teams are showing some ability to adapt to nightly situations to get wins, or at least a standing point, for their troubles. In Philly’s case on Wednesday, they should absolutely thank Hart.
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James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.