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Should Holtby get the start tonight against Blues?

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Should Holtby get the start tonight against Blues?

The Capitals have an interesting dilemma on their hands as they prepare to face the St. Louis Blues tonight at Verizon Center. Do they give goaltender Braden Holtby a start for the second consecutive night as he continues his pursuit of Marty Brodeur’s record?

Or do they give Holtby the night off and give backup Philipp Grubauer his first start since March 12 in San Jose?

If Holtby (45-9-4) was not within four wins of breaking Brodeur’s NHL record of 48 wins, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Grubauer would likely get the start, setting up Holtby to play Monday night at home against Columbus and Wednesday night in Philly against the Flyers. And that may still happen.

But Holtby faced just 22 shots in what Barry Trotz called an “easy night” for the 26-year-old goaltender and the team had a quick flight home from Newark, meaning Holtby could have been in his own bed a little after midnight.

“We haven’t talked about (Brodeur’s record) so I don’t get any sense to be honest with you,” Trotz said Friday when asked if his players are starting to pay attention to the record. “Yeah, probably personally for him, yeah I think so.

“For the group, as it gets closer I think we’ll think about it. It hasn’t really filtered into the room a whole lot to be honest with you. We’re just trying to get a real consistent game going forward.”

Contrary to popular belief, Holtby has not been overworked this season. His 60 starts are tied for second in the NHL this season but well below the 73 appearances he had last season.  In fact, Holtby has been asking for more practice time over the past few weeks.

With nine games remaining, Holtby (45-9-4) should get at least six more cracks at catching and/or eclipsing Brodeur’s record and the fact he can set the record in 12 fewer starts than Brodeur is remarkable. Brodeur started 78 of the Devils’ 82 games in his record-breaking 2006-07 season, going 48-23-7. (Many people forget Roberto Luongo also had an amazing season that year with a 47-22-6 record in 76 games for Vancouver).

Which leads us to another impressive stat worth noting. With 45 wins in 60 starts this season, Holtby is on pace to shatter Tom Barrasso’s NHL record for winning percentage among goalies with 60 or more starts.

In 1992-93, Barrasso won 43 of his 62 starts with the Pittsburgh Penguins, for a 69.4 winning percentage. With 45 wins in 60 starts this season (Holtby has not had to relieve Grubauer) Holtby has won 75 percent of his starts, which would far exceed Barrasso’s winning percentage in 1992-93.

[RELATED: Against Devils, Caps see 'John Carlson we all know']

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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