Holtby hopes to keep streak alive


Holtby hopes to keep streak alive

NEW YORK -- Braden Holtbys NHL resume is not the most extensive, but it is worth noting he has gone 24 straight NHL starts without losing consecutive games.

I didnt even know how many it is, Holtby said after Mondays morning skate at Madison Square Garden.

Maybe the key is to keep a level head through the highs and lows. Never having two bad games in a row is the key to consistency and I want to have a solid performance.

Holtby allowed three goals on 18 shots in Saturdays series-opening 3-1 loss to the Rangers. One goal came on a wraparound stuffer by Artem Anisimov, another on a gloveside slapper by Chris Kreider and a third on an uncontested 5-hole shot by Brad Richards.

Holtbys loss dropped his post-season record to 4-4 and raised his GAA to 2.13 and his save percentage to .931. His counterpart, Hart Trophy finalist Henrik Lundqvist, is now 5-3 in the playoffs with a 1.61 GAA and .945 save percentage.

Ive said this before, Holtby said. Its the Caps against the Rangers. My job is to control their offensive pushes and out job is to push against Lundqvist.

Schultz ready: Caps defenseman Jeff Schultz said hes ready to jump back into the lineup after getting scratched in favor of John Erskine in Game 1.

With New York having the benefit of the last line change, look for Rangers coach John Tortorella to match his top line of Richards between Carl Hagelin and right wing Marian Gaborik.

A guy like Gaborik is real fast and he kind of likes to sneak behind you and hang out a little higher in the offensive zone than most wingers, Schultz said. Theyre really good at give-and-goes. We need to be in good passing lines and stay in that guy going to the net.

Ratings sweep: NBCs coverage of its first two Conference Semifinal games averaged a 1.7 overnight rating, the best for weekend coverage of the second round in eight years and up six percent over last years coverage. Capitals-Rangers on Saturday and Devils-Flyers on Sunday produced the best overnight average for weekend coverage of the second round since two-game regional coverage on ABC 1.9 on May 1, 2004.
Saturdays Game 1 between the Caps and Rangers received a 1.5 overnight rating. The game received a 3.5 rating in New York and a 5.2 rating in Washington, down slightly from a 5.3 in 2009 for a second-round game against the Penguins.

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Caps recall goalie Pheonix Copley after Braden Holtby 'tweaked something' in Dallas game


Caps recall goalie Pheonix Copley after Braden Holtby 'tweaked something' in Dallas game

You thought the Caps had a goalie rotation before, but now they have added a third netminder in the mix.

Pheonix Copley has been recalled from the Hershey Bears and will backup Philipp Grubauer for Washington's game in Detroit, the team announced Thursday.

The move comes in response to an injury concern for Braden Holtby.


Dallas Stars forward Remi Elie collided with Holtby midway through the third period on Tuesday as Holtby was extending to make a save. Holtby reacted awkwardly to the collision and could be seen skating and flexing his leg during the next stoppage.

With only nine games remaining in the regular season, Holtby's injury is a major concern. Given his recent struggles, the final few weeks of the season offered a chance for Holtby to get his game back to form. Just where his game will be when he is 100-percent healthy again is certainly a storyline to watch.


The good news for Washington, however, is that Grubauer is perhaps more ready this season to lead the team than he ever has been and confidence in him around the team should be high.

Since Thanksgiving, Grubauer has played in 22 games with a 17-11-4 record, a .939 save percentage, 1.85 GAA and two shutouts. No goalie who has played in 20 games or more has registered a better save percentage or GAA. He will certainly be looked upon to carry the load until Holtby returns. Whether this means he now has the inside track on starting in the playoffs, however, remains to be seen. That will depend largely on just when Holtby is ready to return and how Grubauer plays down the stretch.

Copley, 26, has gone 14-16-6 with two shutouts, a .898 save percentage and 2.86 GAA in 38 games in Hershey this season. He was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by Washington in 2014. He was traded to the St. Louis Blues in the package that netted the Caps T.J. Oshie, but was reacquired by Washington in Feb. 2017 in a trade deadline deal that included Kevin Shattenkirk.

At the time, it was believed Copley would be the team's backup for the 2017-18 season with Grubauer likely headed to Vegas in the expansion draft. Vegas, however, took Nate Schmidt instead which led to Copley spending the season in Hershey. The Caps now will be happy for the extra goalie depth for as long as Holtby's health remains a concern.

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Wizards to give fans Phil Chenier emoji signs and 1978 title shirts for special weekend

Washington Wizards

Wizards to give fans Phil Chenier emoji signs and 1978 title shirts for special weekend

This weekend was already going to be special for Washington Wizards fans. Now they will get souvenirs to remember it.

As part of their celebration of Phil Chenier's legendary career and the 40th anniversary of their 1978 NBA championship, the Wizards are handing out emoji signs on Friday night and commemorative t-shirts on Sunday. All fans in attendance will receive a giveaway.


The emoji sign has Chenier's face on it and will be handed out for the March 23 game against the Nuggets. Chenier will have his jersey retired at halftime during the game. 

The emoji sign is presented by NBC Sports Washington. You're welcome, Authentic Fans.


The shirts will be given out on Sunday when the Wizards host the New York Knicks. 

Here's the front...

And the back...

Let's take a closer look at that back...

As a reporter who has received many giveaways over the years at pro sports stadiums, these are uniquely awesome. Should be a great weekend for Wizards fans. See you at the arena.


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