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Capitals’ goaltender Braden Holtby named NHL’s ‘Second Star’ of December

(AP Photo / Gary Wiepert)
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Honors continue to pour in for Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby, who is the NHL’s “Second Star” of December, the league announced on Monday. Holtby was also the “Second Star” of the month for November.

As the Capitals (28-7-3, 59 points) climbed to the top of the Eastern Conference standings, Holtby posted a 9-0-1 record with one shutout, a 1.69 goals-against average and a .947 save percentage in 11 appearances during December. Holtby hasn’t lost a game in regulation since a 1-0 loss in Detroit on Nov. 10.

He allowed two or fewer goals in nine of his 11 outings, including a 31-save shutout on Dec. 28 at Buffalo. He has posted a 24-4-2 record in 31 games this season, on pace to break Martin Brodeur’s record for most wins in a season with 48. Holtby leads the NHL in wins (24), ranks second in goals-against average (1.92) and is tied for fourth in save percentage (.932).

He has earned at least one point in 18 consecutive decisions dating to Nov. 12 (16-0-2), the longest such streak by any goaltender since Roberto Luongo posted a 21-game run with the Vancouver Canucks in 2010-11 (16-0-5).

“The goaltending is 75 percent of the team, or 80 percent,” Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin said recently. “We knew he’s good. He’s our best player and probably the best goalie in the league right now.”