Photo: Andre Ringuette
With their 4-2 win over the Senators, the Caps clinched the number-one seed in the East, set a franchise record for wins on the road, and put Braden Holtby within striking distance of Marty Brodeur’s single-season win record. But Holtby wasn’t happy.
“We’re all kind of sick of the way we’ve played at times the last couple of months,” Holtby said after the game.
Usually a detached figure in the locker room, Holtby had a different tone after the road win. “We’re not playing the way we wanna play,” Holtby said with a hint of disdain.
The Capitals’ road victory was a break with tradition. They scored three times in the first period and held on to win after the full hour, ultimately out-attempted 42 to 36 during 5v5 play. “Kind of the opposite of what we’ve been doing lately,” Holtby said of the team’s recent reputation for playing from behind. “A good start and tailed off the rest of the game.”
“We weren’t the better team tonight,” Holtby said. “That was pretty evident.”
For the second game in a row, Capitals goaltenders faced 30 shots or more. The volume is an alarming trend, and it starts with the breakout. “You can’t turn pucks over with [Ottawa],” Holtby said. “That’s how they get their offense. We got lucky tonight that way.”
For his part, Holtby was solid on Tuesday, stopping 28 of 30 shots for a .933 save percentage. That’s an encouraging stat if the Caps wish to stop surrendering the game’s first goal, a feat they’ve accomplished 14 times in the last 18 games.
Holtby knows that, despite the division title and number-one seed in the East, the Capitals aren’t playing their best right now. “We’ll fix it,” Holtby said.
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