If recent history is any indication, Braden Holtby will rebound in Game 4 with a winning performance.
The rookie goaltender has not lost back-to-back games in the NHL since Nov. 2010, a span of 26 contests. Holtby can keep that streak alive – and get the Capitals back into their semifinal series against the Rangers – Saturday at Verizon Center.
“The thing with Braden was just consistency,” associate goaltending coach Olie Kolzig said at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Thursday, a day off for the players. “That was the one thing we were worried about. Could he do it night in and night out? What really has impressed me the most in the playoffs is his resiliency. Whether he gives up a bad goal or has a bad game, he’ll come back and win you that next game.”
“The mental toughness, the resiliency, the calmness,” Kolzig added. “It’s been impressive to watch. He was champing on that bit all year down in Hershey, [then] he finally got that opportunity and he’s making the most of it. I’m happy for him because it’s been a tough year. He was expecting to be here at the beginning of the year. It was kind of a roller coaster start. But he’s really seizing the moment.”
Asked what he told Holtby after the Capitals’ 2-1 loss in triple overtime Wednesday, Kolzig said: “Tell him to continue to play the same way. That’s all you can say. You’re going to have games like that. You’re going to have games where your team bails you out. Just keep your emotions in check and playing at a steady level.”
Holtby made 47 saves in Game 3, including the first 21 of 22 shots he faced in extra time.
“He gave the guys a chance to win,” Kolzig said. “All he can take from that is he was there for the guys. The good thing is they have two days between games. So the emotional [impact] you get out of it, both ways, won’t be as significant as if we were playing tomorrow night. Their high will come down a bit. Our low will come up a little bit. It’s fortunate that we have the two days in between.”
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