Braden Holtby gets his another crack at establishing himself as the lead goaltender for the Washington Capitals.
Will he stand tall or muck it up?
Holtby allowed six goals on 34 shots during Washington’s season-ending opening 6-3 loss at Tampa Bay. First-year coach Adam Oates vowed to give his other goaltender, Michal Neuvirth, plenty of work this season.
So some observers wondered if that work could come in Washington’s the home opener against the Winnipeg Jets. Alas, Oates decided to come back with Holtby after attributing the Game 1 fiasco to miserable team play.
But Holtby knows he wasn’t as good as he needed to be at Tampa. Some of those goals allowed were clearly his fault.
“I think the first and the fifth were ones that I felt I could have played better,” Holtby told the Washington Post. “I don’t know if they would have went in still, but I felt that my positioning could have been better and reading the play. As a whole it was just one of those nights the puck went in.”
Last season Holtby spent most of the season in the American Hockey League. But he excelled in the playoffs, posting a 1.95 goals-against average and .935 save percentage in 14 appearances.
That earned him the initial nod over Neuvirth, who slipped last season after a strong 2010-11 showing: 27-12-4 with a 2.45 GAA and .914 save percentage. With back-to-back games looming Thursday and Friday, Oates won’t have to wait long to give Neuvirth his first look.