It's pretty rare to see a bad game from Braden Holtby. It's so rare, in fact, that when Philipp Grubauer skated on to start the second period on Tuesday against the Toronto Maple Leafs in place of Holtby, you could be forgiven for wondering if Holtby had suffered an injury in the opening frame.
According to Barry Trotz, however, that was not the case.
"I didn't think Holts was really strong today," Trotz said after the Caps' 6-5 win. "... I just felt he was battling the puck today."
When asked specifically to clarify if the move was made due to injury, Trotz said it was not.
The reason for the confusion stems from just how unusual it is to see Holtby get the hook. Tuesday marked the first time this season the Caps' netminder was pulled. You have to go all the way back to March 20, 2016 for the last time in which he was yanked.
But clearly Holtby was not having his best night for the Caps as he allowed three goals in just eight shots in the first period. While Trotz absolved him of blame for the third goal, a shot by Connor Carrick that found the tape of Frederik Gauthier for the tip in that Holtby missed due to a screen from his own defensemen, it was clear a change was needed.
"[Holtby's] been so good for so long for us, that I just wanted to change the momentum and see if we can get some momentum off of that," Trotz said, "And I thought Gruby came in and did a decent job."
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