Holtby will only have one more chance to tie Martin Brodeur’s record of 48 wins, as Trotz said the plan for Washington’s back-to-back games this weekend is the same as it typically is. Holtby will play one game, and Philipp Grubauer will play the other. That means Holtby will finish with 66 starts this season; Brodeur started 78 games the season he won 48 and set the record.
If the Caps indeed split goaltenders, Holtby’s opportunities to break the record are out after a 4-3 overtime loss to the Penguins on Thursday. The Capitals had a 3-1 lead in the third period against the New York Islanders on Tuesday night and ended up losing in overtime, 4-3. Before that game, the Capitals had been vocal about wanting to help Holtby break the record. After Thursday’s loss, it was a touchy subject.
“I think it’s enough to talk about it,” Alex Ovechkin said. “Of course, we wanted to win for him, but let it go. It’s enough pressure for him.”
Holtby blamed himself for allowing the Islanders to get back in the game on Tuesday night, as he misplayed New York’s second goal. On Thursday, he was a victim of odd-man rushes, and he allowed four goals on 35 shots against.
The Capitals have typically started Holtby in the first game of a back-to-back with Grubauer getting the second one. Grubauer has lost his past three starts, though the Capitals were shutout in the final two. This set of two games in two nights will be the wackiest for Washington, which plays Saturday night in St. Louis before returning home to play the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday.
The game is a makeup date after a January blizzard postponed the scheduled meeting between the two teams on Jan. 22. The Ducks have an even worse travel schedule, playing in Colorado on Saturday night before the game in Washington on Sunday.
If Holtby gets the start against the Blues, he’ll have the chance to match Brodeur’s 48-win mark likely in front of Broduer, an assistant general manager for St. Louis. After Tuesday’s loss to the Islanders, Trotz said it didn’t matter if Holtby tied the record, as his season has already been one of the greatest ever for a goaltender.
“I can’t tell you that he’s any different,” Trotz said Tuesday. “I think he would like to get it. There’s no question. Is there added pressure? It probably is on the individual, but everybody’s talking about it. … No matter what happens, his name is going to be up there with a lot of Hall of Fame goaltenders. No matter what happens from now until the end of the regular season here, he’s had a pretty special season, second-best in NHL history.
“That’s nothing to be disappointed on.”