When the Capitals elected to reassign Dany Sabourin to Hershey yesterday and bring up Braden Holtby, 21, a logical conclusion was that the latter could potentially have the opportunity to make his NHL debut, should the team elect to give Michal Neuvirth a rest during their first major road trip. It's a chance Holtby is certainly excited about, but one he knows he ultimately doesn't control either.
"I'm definitely hoping for it and it's out of my hands but it was a good practice [Monday] and I'm confident that I adjusted to this level fairly quickly," Holtby said. "I don't know what's going to happen on the road trip, but I know kind of how they view the goaltending situations and that three [games] in four nights is quite a bit. Hopefully I can use these two days to show them I am ready to start and focus on showing I can perform."
Although Coach Bruce Boudreau said yesterday that the Capitals aren't afraid to lead with Neuvirth, who has proven his ability to excel with a tough schedule, this stretch of three games in four days involves significantly more travel and time zones (3) than the stretch of games Neuvirth played to kick off the season. So it's definitely possible that Holtby could earn his first start, but it wouldn't be too surprising either to see Neuvirth get the nod each time.
Considering how well Neuvirth has played -- he's 5-2 in eight games (seven starts) with a .919 save percentage and 2.53 GAA -- and how many of Washington's victories can be closely tied to his ability to keep the Capitals in games.
So, what would you do? Start Neuvirth, assuming nothing strange happens and he continues his strong play, in all three? Or should Neuvirth get a bit of a break and Holtby play in his first NHL game? Does it all depend on the unknown of how each contest pans out? (Poll after the jump)
Did you miss Coach Bruce Boudreau's live video chat? Check out all the questions and his answers.
AROUND THE WEB
Week three's ups and downs from Japers' Rink.
With Braden Holtby in Washington, here's a closer examination of his play this past weekend against the Philadelphia Phantoms (text and video) over at PennLive.
In case you missed it, RMNB's Neil Greenberg has a great break down of the Capitals scoring chances thus far.
Puck Daddy's Greg Wyshynski has more on Michael Nylander, who broke a vertebra in his neck this weekend.