Braden Holtby gave up seven goals on 25 shots against the Philadelphia Flyers and was mercifully pulled in the third period. The game marked the seventh time in 11 games Holtby had given up four or more goals.
But after the game, Capitals players took complete responsibility for the loss, pointing to a terrible defensive performance as the cause.
“We let him down for sure,” Radko Gudas said. “It’s definitely not his fault. He was holding us in there. He gave us opportunity to win this game but we didn’t perform well enough for him to get the two points.”
The Capitals and Flyers were even after the first period 1-1. Braden Holtby even elicited “Holt-by!” chants after several big stops. But the Caps came out listless in the second. Washington gave up three goals in 1:45. Michael Raffl (Gudas turned the puck over and then got blown by giving up a 2-on-1), Sean Couturier (John Carlson gave up a breakaway), and James van Riemsdyk (failed Dmitry Orlov coverage) all scored. The Capitals then gave up three goals again in the first 8:02 of the third period. Reirden then gave Holtbeast the mercy pull.
“I didn’t like what we did,” John Carlson said. “He’s been for us his whole career and I think certainly tonight we didn’t give him anything to work with. He kept is as close as humanly possible for as long as possible. Not executing, not choosing the right play, I didn’t think anything other than how badly we were playing and nothing to do with him. It’s a crappy spot for a goalie that means so much to this team and works as hard as he does. Everybody felt that way tonight. Just didn’t do enough for him to have a chance.
“There are just games you’re just not on point for whatever reason,” Carlson added. “There’s no reason for us to come into this spot like we did.”
Head coach Todd Reirden fingered Gudas’s turnover on Michael Raffl’s second-period goal that started the snowball.
“I didn’t think our execution was good to start the game. It starts off with a turnover and turns into a puck in the back of the net on a bad read defensively,” Reirden said. “They were able to capitalize on their next opportunities and we couldn’t get back in the game.”
Reirden was adamant that Holtby had nothing to do with the loss.
“Yeah, it’s not his fault. Nope,” Todd Reirden said. “We lost every aspect of the game tonight. We didn’t deserve that win. We deserved what we got tonight…. The score showed what we deserved.
“It’s up to us to respond.”
Headline photo courtesy of NBC Sports Philadelphia
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