Braden Holtby had an absolutely magical playoff run for the Washington Capitals in 2018 which ultimately ended with the team raising Lord Stanley in Las Vegas.
After Philipp Grubauer started the first two games of that year’s postseason and lost both, Braden came in and the rest is history. Holtby led the Capitals to four straight wins against Columbus, helped slay demons in Pittsburgh, shut out Tampa Bay in Game Six and Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Final, and most notably made “The Save” against Alex Tuch en route to the Cup victory.
Holtby recently spoke to Caps Radio’s Ben Raby on the ‘Caps This Morning’ podcast about that storybook run and how the save he is most proud of from it is not the one that gets all the highlight praise.
“I was talking a year or two ago to Lane Lambert and he brought up Game Five of the Vegas series,” Holtby started. “I think we just went down 3-2 or something like that or whatever it was at that point of the game. [David] Perron got a good scoring chance after it and I was able to make a save on it. I’m kinda proud of that because that was probably the hardest game that I’ve ever had to mentally prepare for in my life. Those emotions going into a game that you could clinch, everything that goes around it, I think all of us tried hard to not be uptight. To go down in a game like that, to stay in that moment and be able to make a save there I think that was probably what I would be most proud of in that situation.”
The save Holtby is referring to is above and came with only 10.2 seconds remaining in the second period of Game Five. The Golden Knights had just scored a power-play goal only 18 seconds earlier to give them a 3-2 lead with the period nearing its end. Another late goal could have crushed the Caps’ hopes that night.
Devante Smith-Pelly would end up tying the game with a little over ten minutes remaining in the third period and Lars Eller would score the game-winner with 7:37 left on the clock to clinch the Cup for the Caps.
“It definitely would have been hard (to leave DC) without that (2018 Cup victory),” Holtby said. “It makes me happy that we were able to do that but also talking to [Mike Green], it hurts you also to know those guys weren’t a part of that too because they meant a ton to the organization.
“There’s a lot of players I played with and the guys still there before 2018 that had a big impact on the group in order to get to that place,” he continued. “I consider myself extremely fortunate that I was able to be on that team and it definitely makes it easier I think coming back playing Washington. It makes it easier in the fact that there are no hard feelings anywhere. I just have nothing but great things for everyone there and my whole experience there.”
Number 70, forever a Capital.
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