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

(AP Photo / Alex Brandon)
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After being named the league’s “Second Star” of the week on Monday, Capitals goaltender  Braden Holtby was named the NHL’s “Second Star” of the month on Tuesday afternoon.

Holtby was 9-2-0 in November with one shutout, a 1.99 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage to backstop the Capitals (17-5-1, 35 points) to a 9-3-1 record and second place in the Metropolitan Division. Holtby leads the league in wins (15) and goals against average (1.95) through Monday.

This season’s strong start is a continuation of last year’s breakout, when Holtby played the most games of his NHL career, 25 more than in the 2013-14 season. He set career highs in wins (41), shutouts (nine), games played (73), goals against average (2.22) and save percentage (.923). He recorded a franchise-record 1,887 saves and tied franchise records in wins, shutouts and games played.

“Nothing really affects him,” Capitals Coach Barry Trotz said on Monday. “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 was 4-0-0 last week alone, 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.

A congested schedule of seven games in 11 nights to close out the month benefited Holtby, statistically stronger with less rest. Able to get into a rhythm, Holtby stopped 32 shots against Tampa Bay on Friday and then stopped 32 more at Toronto the next night. He’s on a career-long seven-game win streak.

“It’s a long season for a reason,” Holtby said on Monday. “You don’t get too high or too low, just try to see that end goal of where you want to be and enjoy the ride until you get there.”