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Posted at 01:25 PM ET, 04/29/2012

Braden Holtby’s play in Game 1 puts Caps in a predicament

STATISTICAL ANALYSIS | The play and poise of Braden Holtby were a big reason the Washington Capitals were able to defeat the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins in the first round. He stopped 238 of 244 shots he faced and ended up with three wins on the road, causing many, like myself, to feel that Washington will need the young netminder to come up big again if the Capitals are to upset the New York Rangers. But Holtby was anything but good in Game 1, stopping just 11 of 14 shots in a 3-1 loss, which will make emerging from this round a lot tougher than it otherwise might be.

Losing Game 1 puts any playoff team at a disadvantage. According to WhoWins, the higher-seeded team has a 86-30 series record in the second round when they take a 1-0 lead. But since the lockout, when a goaltender puts up a save percentage of less than .800 in any second-round contest, his team is in an even worse predicament.

YearGameGoalieGASASv%Series result
20104Evgeni Nabokov590.444Won in 5
20065 Vesa Toskala6180.667Lost in 6
20107Marc-Andre Fleury4130.692Lost in 7
20061Ray Emery7230.696Lost in 5
20083Henrik Lundqvist5170.706Lost in 5
20064Evgeni Nabokov140.750Lost in 6
20081Jose Theodore4160.750Lost in 4
20083Carey Price3120.750Lost in 5
20101Jaroslav Halak5200.750Won in 7
20064Cam Ward4170.765Won in 5
20096Roberto Luongo7300.767Lost in 6
20097Simeon Varlamov4180.778Lost in 7
20111Brian Boucher5230.783Lost in 4
20121Braden Holtby3140.786???
20096Cam Ward4190.789Won in 7
20096Marc-Andre Fleury5240.792Won in 7

Before Saturday's game, there have been 15 sub-.800 single-game post-lockout performances in the second round, and 10 of the teams that had them (the San Jose Sharks had two in 2006) ended up losing in the conference semifinals. Of the four that occurred in Game 1, only the 2009-10 Montreal Canadiens (the same team that knocked off the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Washington Capitals in the first round) would go on to win their second-round series. The three others would lose in five games or less.

The Capitals are likely not worried about Holtby's ability to bounce back in Game 2 from such a disappointing outing, but the damage could already be done.

More on the Capitals:
— Graphic: Track every Caps shot in the postseason
Semin demoted to fourth line in practice
— Game 1: Caps surrender upper hand to Rangers, 3-1
The mistakes that led to Kreider’s goal in Game 1
— Jenkins: Game 1 turns quickly for Washington
Chris Kreider is the toast of New York

By Neil Greenberg  |  01:25 PM ET, 04/29/2012

Tags:  Stats

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