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Remembering the play that defined Braden Holtby's legacy: The Save

Remembering the play that defined Braden Holtby's legacy: The Save

Braden Holtby is in the final year of his contract. This may well be his final season with the Capitals, but regardless of what the future may hold for him, there is one play that will forever encapsulate his legacy with the franchise, "The Save."

Two years ago on May 30, 2018, Holtby pulled off the greatest save in the history of the franchise and perhaps one of the most important saves in the history of the game. That's not an exaggeration, it did preserve a one-goal lead in a Stanley Cup Final game, after all.

Down to the Vegas Golden Knights in the series 1-0, Washington clung to a 3-2 lead late in the third period of Game 2. Vegas dumped the puck and it took a weird bounce off the wall. Instead of wrapping around the wall as usual, it bounced back out and through the crease. A surprised Holtby sank back in his crease just to avoid the puck deflecting off of him into the net. Cody Eakin was the first player to the puck and he fed Alex Tuch for what looked like a wide-open shot...but Holtby reached out his stick in desperation and stopped the puck with the paddle.

The shock in Doc Emrick's voice was palpable as he shouted, "It didn't go!" The Vegas fans in the arena were in shock. Alex Ovechkin was in shock as he buried his head in his hands. No one could believe that Holtby had stopped the puck from going in.

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Interestingly enough, what made the save possible was the initial bounce through the crease that forced him back to the goal line. The normally aggressive Holtby was deep in his crease when Eakin got the puck, not allowing him to come out to challenge. That allowed him to reach back for the impossible save on Tuch.

"The Save" ultimately proved to be the turning point of the series. It preserved the Game 2 win for Washington and the Caps did not lose again. Had Vegas tied the game and go on to win, they would have taken a 2-0 series lead into Washington.

This will probably be Holtby's last season in Washington, but that will never take away from this moment.

Since the 2012-13 season, no goalie has played in more games or has more wins than Holtby. He won the Vezina Trophy in 2016, the William M. Jennings Trophy in 2017 and has the record for most wins in a season (48) tied with Martin Brodeur. He is the best goalie in franchise history, but for all his accomplishments, he will be remembered in Washington for one moment, one save that happened two years ago and would that eventually earned his name etched on the Stanley Cup.

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Capitals to play Hurricanes in lone exhibition game before round robin tournament

Capitals to play Hurricanes in lone exhibition game before round robin tournament

The Capitals will play the Carolina Hurricanes at 4 p.m. on July 29 in each team's lone exhibition game before beginning the 2020 postseason, the league announced Tuesday.

The exhibition game will be played in the hub city of Toronto. Teams are scheduled to travel to their hub cities on July 26. Each of the 24 teams in the postseason will play one exhibition game before the postseason officially begins on Aug 1.

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As the final seeding for the top-four seeds is not yet set, the Caps and Hurricanes could see each other again soon. It is possible for these two teams to play in the first round of the playoffs depending on where Washington finishes in the round robin and if Carolina defeats the New York Rangers in a best-of-five series in the qualifying round.

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Here is the full exhibition schedule:

The broadcast information has not yet been announced.

In addition, the NHL has also set the start time for Washington's first round robin game. The Caps will play the Tampa Bay Lightning on Aug. 3 at 4 p.m. The start times for Washington's remaining two games have not yet been set.

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Brenden Dillon indicates he is open to re-signing with Capitals

Brenden Dillon indicates he is open to re-signing with Capitals

With a training camp in July, a delayed postseason, an abbreviated offseason, a flat salary cap all in the midst of a pandemic, the future is uncertain for pending unrestricted free agent defenseman Brenden Dillon. While not much is known right now, there is one thing he does know and that is that he really likes it in Washington.

"I'm happy with being a Washington Capital," Dillon said. "From Day 1 when I came here in the trade, they've made me feel right at home. I think the system, the way we play from the D-core on, I feel a big part of things here."

Dillon was with the San Jose Sharks since 2014 before he was traded. The reality that he would most likely be playing somewhere else in 2020-21 came to a head when the Sharks bottomed-out and sold him at the trade deadline to Washington. Now, his future is uncertain.

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At 29 years old, the next contract was likely going to be Dillon's last big one. He is on the last year of a five-year contract that carries a cap hit of $3.27 million per year. In a normal offseason, he likely would have sought another long-term deal with a raise. This, however, will not be a normal offseason and it is suddenly unclear what kind of money players will be able to get on the open market.

Dillon said he is trying not to concern himself with the uncertainty of free agency.

"I've had so much other things I've been worried about," he said. "Just the world in general and touching base with family and friends and everything."

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Dillon has played primarily on the top pair with John Carlson since he was brought in. Though the pandemic has limited him to just 10 games of action with the Caps, both sides seem to have left a favorable impression. When asked about his future, Dillon indicated he would be open to re-signing.

"The kind of mutual talks amongst my agent and [general manager Brian MacLellan], those things are confidential with them," Dillon said. "But for me as a player and being part of the Caps, it's been awesome and hopefully can be here."

Though he fits in nicely as a top-four defenseman, re-signing him would add another body into a logjam of left-shooting defensemen within the franchise.

Dmitry Orlov, Michal Kempny, Jonas Siegenthaler, Marin Fehervary and Alex Alexeyev are all left defensemen and all but Siegenthaler are under contract beyond this season. Siegenthaler is a restricted free agent who will almost certainly be re-signed. Re-signing Dillon exacerbates the issue, but top-four defensemen are hard to find and if a proven player like Dillon is interested in re-signing, that is hard to pass up if you can get the numbers to work.

The possibility of there being interest in Dillon returning to Washington beyond this season adds to the importance of the 2020 postseason. This may not just be a quest for the Cup, but an audition for those left defensemen to see who the team may want to keep for the future.

"For a lot of us going into this free agency, there's going to be a lot of questions from not just the players' side, but the team side and the planning that goes into these things," Dillon said. "That's above my pay grade and I'll kind of cross that bridge when I get there."

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