NASHVILLE -- Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby is on the verge of what could be an historic, record-breaking season.
He’s got 30 wins in 39 starts and is on pace for an incredible 52 wins, four more than the NHL record set by future Hall of Famer Marty Brodeur.
Can he do it? Can he be the first goalie in NHL history to win 50 games?
“We don’t talk about streaks or records or anything like that,” Capitals coach Mitch Korn said. “Every game is a stand-alone, single event that we do the very best we can to win. And at the end of the day that’s what matters the most – a W, two points. So, no matter who I talk to or no matter what information gets fed to me, I don’t bring them up, he doesn’t bring them up, and from what I can gather, he’s pretty oblivious to most of those things.”
Because of a pair of snow postponements, the Capitals will play 35 games in 71 days and that could affect how many starts Holtby is given in the final 2½ month of the season. Korn said the goal is to win games while keeping Holtby fresh for the playoffs.
“For us every game is a decision and it’s based on how it’s going, how everybody’s feeling. It’s almost busy work, an exercise in futility, to plan out now through March. We’re taking it a day at a time, a week at a time. We won’t look weeks in advance.”
Last season Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop played in 62 regular season games and 25 more playoff games, giving him 87 starts, excluding the preseason. He said he wouldn’t be surprised to see Holtby go on a similar run this year.
“He’s having a fantastic year,” Bishop said. “That run he went on without losing (23 straight appearances) is amazing. It would be nice to pull something like that off.
“They’re a good team and he’s a big piece of that. He’s having a terrific year and I think you ride that hot hand. He’ll probably end up playing close to 90 games. As long as he can stay healthy I don’t see him slowing down at all. It’s a long season but you enjoy the moment because you never know if that’s going to happen again.”