Braden Holtby earned his first shutout in the Stanley Cup playoffs Saturday afternoon in the Capitals’ 1-0 overtime win in Game 2 against the New York Rangers. But of all the wins Holtby has earned this season, this wasn’t a particularly taxing one.
“It wasn’t a very hard game for me,” Holtby said after the game. “We did an outstanding job. Penalty kills are usually where you get the most work and if you eliminate that it’s basically just making the saves that you have to make. A shutout’s one thing but a win is the big thing.”
Holtby finished with 24 saves but none were especially memorable or of a similar caliber to the ones the Capitals were forcing New York netminder Henrik Lundqvist (37 saves) to make at the opposite end of the rink.
“Any time we had some momentum, he took the wind out of our sails and made it frustrating for us,” Mike Green said of Lundqvist. “He was really good tonight and we expect that out of him, but again, it comes down to patience. It wasn’t a matter of trying to beat him, or do too much. It was just a matter of it was going to go in off a body or something.”
Washington held the Rangers without a shot in the final 17 minutes 43 seconds of Game 2, a testament to the team’s overall ability to smother an opponent.
While that span included Rick Nash firing a shot off the post to Holtby’s right on a breakaway chance, which might have been New York’s best scoring opportunity in the game, there certainly wasn’t much work for the Capitals’ goaltender. The Rangers’ other prime scoring opportunity came when defenseman Anton Stralman rung a shot off the cross bar just 3:43 into the contest.
“It wasn’t a very straining game on a goalie,” Holtby said. “It probably didn’t even reach double digits in scoring chances. I felt comfortable out there but there’s still room for improvement.”