In the end, Henrik Lundqvist was one save better than Braden Holtby.
Over the course of seven thrilling games between the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals, all of them decided by one goal, Lundqvist allowed 12 goals on 223 shots, while Holtby allowed 13 goals on 236 shots.
“He was outstanding,” Lundqvist said of Holtby. “For me personally it was a great challenge to try to match that and stay in the game. … I [was] thinking about that all series, because Holtby has been playing that well.”
At the conclusion of two playoff rounds, featuring 69 playoff games between 16 teams, Holtby and Lundqvist lead all starting goaltenders with an identical save percentage of .944.
Lundqvist ranks first among playoff starters in goals-against average [1.60], while Holtby ranks second [1.71].
Here’s one more stat: Lundqvist made $11 million this season and carries a cap hit of $8.5 million, both highest among NHL goalies. Holtby made $2 million, with a cap hit of $1.85 million, ranking 32nd and 33rd among NHL netminders.
In all likelihood, that is about to change.
As a restricted free agent, Holtby is poised to cash in on a contract that could make him among the highest paid goaltenders in the league.
“I think everybody has seen how Braden has been elevated as an elite goaltender in this league,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said after Wednesday night’s 2-1 overtime loss to the Rangers, in which Holtby stopped 37 of 39 shots. “Great work by [goaltending coach] Mitch Korn.
“I think going head-to-head against a great goaltender like Lundqvist, he’ll just learn from that. Holts was great. Our backbone all year. He’s played in more games  than anybody in the National Hockey League this year. He’s turning into our DNA, if you will. Great character, great work ethic and that’s just going to make us stronger as an organization.”
Holtby finished the regular season ranked first in the NHL in games played , games started , shots against [2,044] and saves [1,887]; he was tied for second in wins  and shutouts . And, among NHL goaltenders with 40 or more games played, he ranked fourth in goals-against average [2.22] and seventh in save percentage [.923].
That means big bucks for the 25-year-old father of two from Lloydminster, Saskatchewan.
Throughout the season, Holtby brushed off questions about his pending contract situation, saying it would take care of itself once the season ended.
Now that it has, it’s fair to suggest that, based on comparables, Holtby’s value could be somewhere in the $6 million range. It all depends on the approach taken by Capitals management.
Because Holtby is a restricted free agent making more than $1 million, the Capitals are obligated to give him a qualifying offer equal to his current $2 million salary by June 25.
But even though Holtby is two years away from unrestricted free agency, it seems more likely the Caps would reward him with a long-term contract, perhaps in the five-year range. If the Caps believe Holtby is an elite goalie and part of their DNA, they could pay him accordingly.
Lundqvist is the highest-paid goalie in the league with a cap hit of $8.5 million, followed by Tuukka Rask and Pekka Rinne [$7 million], Carey Price [$6.5 million], Cam Ward [$6.3 million], Cory Crawford and Ryan Miller [$6 million], Semyon Varlamov and Kari Lehtonen [$5.9 million] and Jonathan Quick [$5.8 million].
Based on those figures, if the Caps plan on locking up Holtby for five or more seasons, and they plan on securing RFAs Evgeny Kuznetsov, Marcus Johansson, Nate Schmidt and Philipp Grubauer, there could be little left for an unrestricted free agent group that includes Mike Green, Joel Ward, Eric Fehr, Jay Beagle, Curtis Glencross and Tim Gleason.
Burakovsky to Hershey: Caps rookie left wing Andre Burakovsky was re-assigned to the Hershey Bears today and is expected to play in Game 6 of the Bears' Calder Cup elimination game tonight in Hartford against the Rangers' AHL affiliate Wolf Pack. The Bears trail the best-of-seven series 3-2. Defenseman Nate Schmidt rejoined the Bears on Thursday and is also expected to play tonight.