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Braden Holtby named NHL’s ‘Second Star’ of the week

(Nick Wass/Associated Press)

After an undefeated week in which he helped the Washington Capitals move into first place in the Metropolitan Division, goaltender Braden Holtby was honored as the NHL’s “Second Star” of the week.

Holtby was 4-0-0 last week, on a career-long seven-game winning streak through Thursday, and in that four-game span, he had a 1.75 goals against average and a .945 save percentage. He also recorded his first shutout of the season in a 1-0 win against the Edmonton Oilers when he made a season-high 33 saves.

“I wouldn’t say I felt any better or worse,” Holtby said. “It’s not very often you play four games in a week so I’m sure that had a bit to do with it.  You try to win every game and sometimes it happens in a week stretch.”

A congested schedule of seven games in 11 nights suited Holtby, as he’s statistically stronger with less rest and said he got into a good rhythm this week. Because Holtby was on a roll, stopping 32 shots against Tampa Bay on Friday, Capitals Coach Barry Trotz played him in a second game of a back-to-back in Toronto on Saturday, the first time he’s done that this season. Holtby responded with another 32-save performance.

Holtby leads the league in wins (15) and goals against average (1.95) through Sunday.

“Nothing really affects him,” Trotz said. “That’s what I sort of liked about him. It doesn’t affect him a whole lot, and I think he’s mentally tough. I think he understands that he’s put in the hard work and hard work’s going to keep him as a top goaltender and maybe take him to the next level.”

Holtby is the second Washington player to be honored as a star of the week, as center Evgeny Kuznetsov was an NHL “first star” in October.