ARLINGTON, Va. -- There are few sure bets when it comes to sports, but who will start in net for the Caps has become one of them. Over the course of the regular season, Braden Holtby played in 73 games and started in 72. He led the NHL in both categories.
For those who followed Trotz's career in Nashville, his reliance on Holtby may not have come as a surprise. While there, Trotz leaned heavily on goalie Pekka Rinne, who also played 73 games in the 2011-12 season.
When asked about Holtby, however, Trotz said this wasn't by design.
"Going into the season I was thinking about sort of 60-20 [games]," Trotz said. "After the first 20 games we sort of dug ourselves a little hole. We had to dig ourselves out a little bit. He got on a little bit of a roll in December and we stayed with it. One thing led to another and he just kept performing well."
Holtby finished the regular season with 41 wins, 9 shutouts and a .923 save percentage. Despite another phenomenal season by Alex Ovechkin, a strong case could be made that Holtby was actually the team's most important player.
"He had so many big moments during the year when we needed a big performance or you needed a big save, a timely save, Braden has been able to give you that," Trotz said. "I think that as he's grown, I think he's battle-hardened."
After so many games, however, the question for the Caps' netminder is if fatigue could potentially set in sometime during the postseason. Holtby already missed one start due to an unspecified illness against the New York Islanders. For Trotz, however, playing Holtby throughout the season may have actually meant more rest than more nights off.
"I found when I didn't play him he just stayed on the ice for two hours and instead of taking 40 shots a game he'd take 500. I think he was getting more tired doing that so I decided to just play him."
For his part, Holtby says fatigue is not a factor. When asked how his body was holding up now in the second round of the playoffs, Holtby said, “It’s fine. Obviously the playoffs are tough on guys, but that’s part of the fun of it is pushing your body a little."
Schmidt recalled: Defenseman Nate Schmidt was with the team for practice on Sunday after being recalled on Saturday by the Caps.
Trotz said Schmidt was recalled in order to "get a feel for the series" in case of injury and as a precaution for an injury issue with Tim Gleason. Trotz would not specify what the issue was with Gleason saying only that it was related to shot blocking and was "somewhere on his body."
Gleason was not on the ice to begin practice, but came about halfway through the session.
Trotz, Gleason and Schmidt all seemed to believe Gleason would be ready for Game 3, but that Schmidt would take warmups with the team as a precaution.
PK KO'd: The Caps allowed their first power play goal of the playoffs in Game 4, snapping a streak of 17-straight penalty kills. Ending those streaks can be deflating for teams, but Jay Beagle said the penalty kill unit wasn't focused on their streak, but just with killing each individual penalty.
"You don’t pay attention to streaks, things like that this time of year," Beagle said. "It’s just getting a job done. We’re playing well on the PK. We’ve got to keep it going."
Overall, the Caps have killed 19 out of 20 penalties faced in the postseason.
No Fehr: Trotz did not provide an update on Eric Fehr other than to say he would not be available for Game 3. Fehr has not played since suffering an upper-body injury in Game 3 against the New York Islanders.
Ovechkin - Backstrom - Ward
Johansson - Kuznetsov - Chimera
Burakovsky - Beagle - Brouwer
Glencross - Laich - Wilson
Orpik - Carlson
Alzner - Niskanen
Gleason - Green
Schmidt - Orlov
MORE CAPITALS: Lundqvist on Ovechkin: 'He definitely surprised me'