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Holtby's dominant performance fuels Caps to the win


Holtby's dominant performance fuels Caps to the win

The Caps came into Thursday night's game looking for a rebound effort and they got one thanks to Braden Holtby. The Caps netminder turned away 26 of the 27 shots he faced on the night including 17 in the second period to lead the Caps to the 4-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks.

"I think the other night was a pretty good wakeup call for us, and we had a good response," Holtby said.

Just two nights after suffering a 5-0 loss at the hands of the San Jose Sharks, the task appeared just as daunting on Thursday as the Caps hosted the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks. The difference as head coach Barry Trotz stated after the game, was great goaltending. Thanks to Holtby's effort in net, this time the Caps were up to the challenge.

Despite the 4-1 score, it was not a dominating performance for Washington. Far from it. The team was sloppy with the puck in their own end and at times could not match the speed of Chicago's rush. The result was 19 giveaways by the Caps leading to multiple odd-man rushes and goal-scoring opportunities for the Blackhawks.

"It's usually a strength of ours is not giving up odd-man rushes," Holtby said. "That's one thing we'll have to figure out how to minimize that, but at the same time, Blackhawks are a pretty creative team and pretty fast team that an create those."

RELATED: VIDEO: T.J. Oshie scores 1st goal as a Capital

Holtby, however, was up to the task.

The key moment came in the second period. With the Caps leading 1-0, Chicago found themselves with three fantastic chances all met by brilliant saves. 

"Those guys are champions over there, there's a reason," Trotz said. "They had a real good push on."

Chicago forward Andrew Shaw carried the puck into the offensive zone on a rush and came in close for a wrister that was stopped by Holtby. The rebound bounced right to Marcus Kruger who was alone in the slot, but Holtby recovered quickly and stonewalled him. Before the Caps could clear the zone or catch their breath, Chicago was able to setup one more chance as Shaw found himself alone in the slot, but again Holtby was there to turn it aside and keep the Blackhawks off the board.

Moments later, John Carlson scored to make it 2-0. Holtby may not have been credited with an assist on the goal, but he should have been as it was his stellar work in net that ultimately led to the tally.

As good as he was, Holtby was also fortunate.

On yet another 2-on-1 opportunity for the Blackhawks, Andrew Desjardins had an empty net to shoot at, but he sent the puck underneath the outstretched leg of Holtby and wide of the net.

Chicago had 17 shots on goal in the second period and another ten that were blocked or went wide. Yet, they headed back to the locker room with nothing to show for it, down 2-0.

A Viktor Svedberg tally in the third period prevented Holtby from registering a shutout, but should take nothing away from his effort. On a night when the top line dazzled and T.J. Oshie delighted fans with a goal and an assist - his first two points as a Cap - it was the star in the crease who bested the champs and gave the Caps an opportunity to win.

MORE CAPITALS: Holtby stands tall as Caps top Blackhawks 4-1

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Game 75 Capitals at Canadiens Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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Game 75 Capitals at Canadiens Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Montreal Canadiens

Where: Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Canadiens will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington.

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Canadiens game on NBC Sports' live stream page.


The Capitals (43-24-7) take on the Canadiens (27-36-12) Saturday, March 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Montreal.


The Capitals-Canadiens game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off on NBC Sports Washington with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington after the game for Caps Extra and Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. for postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals at Canadiens
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime


You can watch the Capitals-Canadiens game on NBC Sports' live stream page.


Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

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Touted Prospect Shane Gersich signs with Caps, joins team immediately


Touted Prospect Shane Gersich signs with Caps, joins team immediately

The Caps signed University of North Dakota forward Shane Gersich, a fifth round selection in 2014 and one of the organization’s top prospects, on Friday morning, the team announced.

Gersich, a left shot who is listed at 5-11, 175-pounds, has already joined the team in Montreal, where the Caps play the Canadiens at Bell Centre on Saturday night.

His contract, which begins this season, carries an average annual value of $925,000.

It’s unclear when Gersich will make his NHL debut, but it could happen at some point in the Caps’ final eight games before the playoffs.


NBC Sports Washington has been told that the primary objective for Gersich in the coming weeks is to get his first taste of the NHL by observing—and practicing alongside—his new teammates in Washington. If the opportunity to get him into the lineup presents itself, then it’s possible he’ll suit up.

The 21-year-old just completed his third season at UND. Here are Gersich’s numbers from junior and college, courtesy of


At UND, the smooth-skating and skilled Gersich also produced this memorable goal vs. Denver:

Gersich has been assigned jersey No. 63 in Washington, according to the Caps’ website.

The addition of Gersich and subsequent subtraction of Travis Boyd, who was reassigned to Hershey on Friday morning, leaves the Caps with 14 forwards on the roster.

“I think he did a great job at rookie camp,” Caps GM Brian MacLellan said of Gersich in July. “He was one of our best players, if not the best player, at camp. Really happy about the way he’s progressed and where we picked him. I think Ross Mahoney did a great job with that pick.”