Braden Holtby has posted a 8-3-0 record with a 2.04 goals-against average (second among goaltenders currently in the playoffs) and .926 save percentage (fourth among goaltenders with at least five games played) in 11 games this postseason. In six games versus Pittsburgh, Holtby posted 2.15 goals against average and .921 save percentage. In his career, Holtby has posted four shutouts, a 2.00 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage in a franchise-record 70 playoff games. The Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, native ranks second in NHL playoff history (min. 50 games played) in career save percentage and second in career goals-against average. In addition, Holtby ranks first among active NHL goaltenders (min. 20 games played) in career playoff save percentage and goals-against average. Holtby has allowed two goals or fewer in 44 of his 70 career playoff games and Washington has posted a 30-14 record in those games. Washington and Tampa Bay will play all potential seven games this series on one day of rest. During the regular season, Holtby has played in 160 career games following one day of rest, recording 2.16 goals against average and a .927 save percentage, his lowest goals against average and his highest save percentage of any other combination of days with rest.
TOP GAME NOTES
Rookie Contributions - Capitals rookies Nathan Walker and Travis Boyd made their playoff debuts in the Capitals’ series-clinching Game 6 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference semifinal on May 7. The two rookies joined Shane Gersich, Chandler Stephenson, Jakub Vrana and Christian Djoos in the Capitals class of rookies to debut in the playoffs. The Capitals’ six rookies ties the franchise mark for the most rookies the Capitals have had participate in the playoffs (1989-90). This postseason, five different Capitals rookies have recorded points, which is a franchise high. Walker recorded an assist on the Capitals’ opening goal in Game 6 against Pittsburgh, making him the first Australian to record a point in the playoffs in NHL history. Walker, who became the first Australian to play in the NHL on Oct. 7, recorded a goal in his NHL debut, making him the first Australian to record a point in the regular season. The Capitals had eight different rookies on the roster this season (Vrana, Stephenson, Djoos, Gersich, Madison Bowey, Travis Boyd, Nathan Walker and Liam O’Brien), and six rookies recorded their first career point.
Kuz Control - Evgeny Kuznetsov ranks second on the Capitals in points (7g, 7a) and tied for eighth in the NHL in the playoffs. Kuznetsov scored the series-clinching goal in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinal against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Kuznetsov, who scored his first-career overtime goal, became the seventh player in franchise history to score a series-clinching goal in overtime.
The Great Eight – Alex Ovechkin is fourth in the NHL with eight goals in the playoffs and leads the Capitals with 15 points (8g, 7a), which is tied for the most among players remaining in the playoffs. Additionally, Ovechkin is tied for fourth among active NHL players (min. 20 games played) in career playoff goals per game (0.50) and tied for eighth in playoff points per game (0.96). Among the top 10 active career playoff goal scorers, Ovechkin ranks sixth, and his 0.50 goals per game ranks first among player on that list. In 109 career playoff games, Ovechkin has 105 points (54g, 51a), ranking first in franchise history in playoff games played, goals, points, power play goals (18), power play points (45), game-winning goals (7), shots (497) and second in assists (51).
The Matchup - The Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning played three times this season, each finishing with a 1-1-1 record. Nicklas Backstrom led the team with four points (1g, 3a) against the Lightning this season and T.J. Oshie and Alex Ovechkin each led the team with two goals. Since the 2014-15 season, Washington is 8-2-2 against Tampa Bay during the regular season. Additionally, the Capitals have held the Lightning to three or fewer goals in 11 of their last 14 meetings and under two or fewer goals in seven of their last 14 meetings.
Super Carly - John Carlson is tied for third among all NHL defensemen with 11 points (3g, 8a) in the playoffs and is now one point shy of tying the Capitals' franchise mark for points by a defenseman in the playoffs (Kevin Hatcher, 1988: 5g, 7a; Scott Stevens, 1988: 1g, 11; Carlson, 2016: 5g, 7a). In 88 career playoff games, which is the second most in franchise history among defensemen, Carlson has 46 points (16g, 30a) and one game-winning goal. Carlson’s 68 points (15g, 53a) led the NHL this season and are the seventh-highest single season total by a Capital in franchise history. Carlson became the third Capitals defenseman to lead the NHL in points since 2000 (Sergei Gonchar: 2001-02, 59 points; Mike Green: 2008-09, 2009-10: 73 and 76 points, respectively).
Must Read/See/Hear Material
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AP: Kucherov relishes chance to face Ovechkin in East Final / ‘Saucer-eyed’: Caps, others count on rookies in NHL playoffs / NHL makes history with new blood in conference finals
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Canoe: JETS SNAPS: Perreault happy for Ovi, Caps, lessons for young Jets, Copp mic'd up for Game 7
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