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Holtby not letting himself off the hook

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Holtby not letting himself off the hook

From Labor Day through New Year’s, Braden Holtby has been the Capitals’ most reliable and consistent player. It was with that in mind that Barry Trotz was careful with his critique of his goaltender following the Caps’ 5-4 shootout loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night at Nationwide Arena.

“Holts wasn’t absolutely fantastic,” Trotz told reporters after watching Holtby allow four goals on 29 shots through 65 minutes, then two more on three shots in the shootout.

“If you measure his game to what it was all year, he’d probably put this as one of the lower points for the year. “But he’s been outstanding for us all year.

“I’m never going to blame the game on Holts because he’s won us so many, but he’ll probably say it wasn’t one of his better ones. He’s been incredible this year. He’s bounced back every opportunity we’ve let him.”

RELATED: Goaltender comes off bench to beat Caps

Holtby, whose loss was his first since Dec. 5, was equally disappointed in his effort against the Blue Jackets, which left his NHL-best record at 24-4-2.

“If I make a couple saves I know I can make, you’re not asking those questions and it doesn’t change the way we played at all,” Holtby said. “This one, I have to be better. It’s simple.”

Holtby and the Caps were 68 seconds away from a 4-3 win when Brandon Saad used a burst of speed to get behind Caps defenseman Matt Niskanen and flipped a shortside backhander over Holtby to tie the score.

“That’s a hard play, when they cut in front,” Holtby said, “and I think I cheated a bit too much (to the far post) to try to stop him from going to the backside there and left a little bit of space open.”

Despite the shootout loss, Holtby still has not lost a game in regulation since Nov. 10, a 19-game stretch in which he has gone 16-0-3. During that time Holtby has faced an increased volume of traffic in his crease as opponents try to make it more and more difficult for him to see pucks.

That was certainly the case Saturday night but Holtby believes the Blue Jackets crossed the line when Nick Foligno skated by Holtby and clipped him under the chin with his stick blade, prying Holtby’s mask off in the process.

“They missed that one, I think,” Trotz said of the officials, who did not call a penalty on the play. “Those are dangerous plays. There’s no reason for it. (Foligno’s) just got to control his stick. Holts was in the crease. It is what it is.”

Holtby has had his mask knocked off in each of his last two starts and is getting frustrated by the liberties players are taking in his crease.

“Yeah, I was not expecting it,” Holtby said. “That’s a pretty standard play. A goalie is standing there all the time. It’s tough when you don’t get those (called). It’s pretty clear that’s a high stick on him.”

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Panthers honor Florida shooting victims before game against Capitals

Panthers honor Florida shooting victims before game against Capitals

Prior to their matchup against the Capitals, the Panthers honored the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

Thursday night's game was the Panthers' first game on home ice since the shooting last week. BB&T Center, the home of the Panthers, is located about 20 minutes south of Parkland.

Both teams wore the school’s hat during warmups, and the Panthers will wear the school’s logo on their helmets and “MSD” patches on their jerseys for the rest of the season.

There was a was a moment of silence and ceremony prior to the game, during which the video board showed the pictures and names of all 17 victims.

Following the video Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo, who lives in Parkland, took the ice to give his own moving tribute. 

"It's time for us, as a community, to take action. Enough is enough." Luongo commended the school's teachers and said of the students, "You guys are an inspiration for all of us. You guys are giving us hope for the future." 

"When I'm done playing hockey, I want to spend the rest of my life in Parkland," Luongo said. "I love that city."

In addition to the ceremony and uniform tributes, the Panthers hosted a blood drive beginning at today noon and lasting through the second intermission of the game in an effort to replenish local blood banks.

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Being an Olympic hero is not all T.J. Oshie has in common with 2018 U.S. Women's hockey team

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Being an Olympic hero is not all T.J. Oshie has in common with 2018 U.S. Women's hockey team

Four years ago, Capitals forward T.J. Oshie was the shootout king in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. This time around Gigi Marvin was one of the Americans who provided the extra-time heroics for Team USA at Pyeongchang, carrying the women’s hockey team to the gold medal.

Ironically enough, they both were the King and Queen of their high school’s dance back in 2005.

Marvin and Oshie both went to Warroad High School in Minnesota. They graduated from the same class in 2005. Nearly every high school in the country would wish for just one Olympian, this one got two legends in one class.

Oshie famously took the puck six times for Team USA in a shootout to beat Russia back in 2014. Marvin scored the first tally of the shootout in the gold medal game against Canada. The United States would go on to win the match in seven rounds.

Oshie would go on to congratulate his fellow Warroad alum after the match.

Whoever cast the deciding votes, must have known that these two destined for glory. One could now call them the King and Queen of Olympic shootouts.

RELATED: USA WOMEN WIN GOLD OVER RIVAL CANADA