As the Washington Capitals came out for the third period of Game Two, a new player skated out to defend the net.
Head Coach Barry Trotz benched Braden Holtby, his reigning Vezina Trophy-winner goaltender, in favor of talented backup Philipp Grubauer.
Holtby fumed on the bench.
Two of the three goals Holtby gave up he arguably had no chance on.
Matt Cullen struck first, one minute and fifteen seconds into the second period. The Caps gave up a shorthanded breakaway and the forward went five hole.
Phil The Thrill scored against Holtby next, this time on a two-on-one break. Kessel nailed the top corner of the net short side.
Here’s the goal that would eventually push Holtby to the bench. On another odd-man break, Holtby was unaggressive and deep in net. Not squared up to the shooter, Holtby was beat by Jake Guentzel who slung the puck through Holtby’s glove and pad.
Grubauer would not fare much better, giving up two goals in the first 5:31 of the third period.
Many fans were openly critical of Holtby’s play on social media, but when the Caps’ defense gives up this many high-danger scoring chances, no save is a sure thing.
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