It may have taken him three tries, but Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby can now say that no goalie in the history of the NHL has won more games in a regular season than him and a guy named Martin Brodeur.
With Brodeur watching from high above Scottrade Center, Holtby made 19 saves and saw Alex Ovechkin net his 48th, 49th and 50th goals of the season en route to his record-tying 48th victory, a 5-1 win over the St. Louis Blues Saturday night.
The win tied Brodeur’s single-season wins record, set in 2007 in the New Jersey Devils’ next-to-last game. Brodeur sat out the final game of that season and it appears Holtby will do the same when the Capitals close out the season on Sunday when they face the Anaheim Ducks.
While Holtby’s 48th win of the season was historical, Ovechkin’s pursuit of 50 goals was simply remarkable.
After Vladimir Tarasenko gave the Blues a 1-0 lead just 75 seconds into the game Ovechkin tied it at the 4:04 mark off assists from John Carlson and Nicklas Backstrom.
Less than 3 minutes later Ovechkin struck again off a feed from Backstrom and the Caps carried a 2-1 lead into the second period. After Carlson and Jason Chimera scored to give the Caps a 4-1 lead through two periods, the suspense built.
Could Holtby hang on for the record? Could Ovechkin get to 50 goals for the seventh time in his career?
Both answered emphatically. Holtby stopped all 10 shots he faced in the final period and Ovechkin became just the third player in NHL history to score 50 goals in seven different seasons, joining Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy.
Meanwhile, the Caps now know they’ll be facing the Flyers for the fifth time in the teams’ history.
Evgeny Kuznetsov led the Capitals with five points (all assists) in four games against the Flyers this season and Justin Williams earned four points (1 goal, 3 assists) in four games against Philadelphia.
Ovechkin scored two goals against the Flyers this season and has registered 48 points (31 goals, 17 assists) in 41 career games against Philadelphia.
Nicklas Backstrom scored two goals against the Flyers this season and has earned 44 points (14 goals, 30 assists) in 34 career games against Philadelphia.
Holtby posted a 2-0-2 record against Philadelphia this season with a 2.21 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage.
Tickets for the first three home games of the Washington Capitals 2016 Playoffs presented by Boeing are available by calling 1-800-745-3000, on WashingtonCaps.com, at Kettler Capitals Iceplex and at all Ticketmaster outlets, including the Verizon Center box office. Game dates, times and opponents will be announced by the NHL at a later date.
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