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How many wins can Holtby finish with this season?


How many wins can Holtby finish with this season?

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.”

RELATED: 20 funny minutes with All-Star Evgeny Kuznetsov 

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Capitals Extra Podcast: Trade deadline story time with Alan May

NBC Sports Washington

Capitals Extra Podcast: Trade deadline story time with Alan May

Alan May knows a thing or two about the trade deadline.

Over the course of his NHL career, May was traded five total times, four at the trade deadline. He sits down with Rob Carlin on a special edition of the Capitals Extra Podcast to tell stories from his playing days about what it was like getting traded.

This one's a can't miss for hockey fans. You can listen to the episode here on the Capitals Extra page or with the player below.

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NHL Awards tracker: Where would the Caps' offense be without Ovechkin?


NHL Awards tracker: Where would the Caps' offense be without Ovechkin?

The Hart Trophy is given to the player judged to be the most valuable to their team. With the Caps currently struggling in almost every aspect of the game, consider this: Just where would they be without Alex Ovechkin?

Washington ranks 10th in the NHL in goals per game with 3.05. Ovechkin leads the NHL in goals with 36. He has scored an incredible 19-percent of his team's goals. No one on the Caps is within 20 goals of the Caps' captain.

That's not a typo. Evgeny Kuznetsov ranks second on the team with 16 goals. No other team in the league has a larger separation between its top two scorers. In fact, only three teams have a difference that's in the double digits: Vancouver (11), San Jose (10) and New Jersey (10).

Ovechkin is almost singlehandedly propping up Washington as a top-ten offense. If you think about just where this offense would be without him, there's a pretty strong case to be made that Ovechkin is as valuable to his team this season as any other player in the league.


Here are the Caps' hopefuls for awards this season:

John Carlson

In contention for: Norris

Carlson is fifth among all defensemen with 45 points, but his case goes beyond the numbers. With a blue line that has featured two rookies the majority of the season, an aging veteran in Brooks Orpik and that had to deal with an injury to Matt Niskanen, the Caps have asked a lot of Carlson this season and he has always been up to the task.

Alex Ovechkin

In contention for: Hart

Few players, if any, are as important to their team's offensive production and therefore its success than Ovechkin has been this season.

Check out who the top candidates are for the league's major individual awards in this week's 2018 NHL Awards Tracker!