Over the course of this Eastern Conference quarterfinal series, Braden Holtby has stopped 175 of the 185 shots he’s faced from the Boston Bruins. Some stops are routine, others a little more spectacular.
With 4 minutes 14 seconds gone in the third period of the Capitals’ 4-3 win in Game 5, Holtby made one of the how-did-he-do-that variety.
The Bruins were buzzing after Mike Knuble’s goal put Washington ahead 3-2, and a point shot by Zdeno Chara bounced off the end boards and out in front of the right goalpost to Milan Lucic.
Lucic fired a backhander toward the net and Holtby made a rather simple initial save, but the puck popped out to Tyler Seguin off the left goalpost. Seguin snapped a shot toward the wide-open cage, but Holtby slid across the crease to make arguably his best stop of the series.
“It bounced off the backboards and it kind of happened quick,” said Holtby, who boasts a .946 save percentage and 1.86 goals against average in the postseason. “They threw it out front and I just kind of read it last minute and got a toe on it — probably the very last piece of metal in my skate.”
It was a highlight-reel stop at a significant point in the contest. While the Bruins would eventually go on to tie the game at 3-3 later in the third, if they had managed to answer back on the next shift following Knuble’s goal, who knows how it might have changed the contest.