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Holtby shoulders blame for loss to Rangers

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Holtby shoulders blame for loss to Rangers

NEW YORK - Braden Holtby is the first to tell you he thrives on playing every other night. But after skipping a start in Florida on Saturday and getting a day off on Sunday he refused to use inactivity as an excuse for Tuesday night’s 5-2 loss to the New York Rangers.

“I’ve always felt better when I’m consistently on the ice, but that’s not an excuse here,” Holtby said after five goals on 21 shots, including four on the first 10 he faced. “You adapt to what you’re dealt with and I didn’t do that well enough tonight. It’s something I’ll learn from and be better next time.”

The Capitals outshot the Rangers 34-21 and dominated them 14-2 in shots in the second period, but were trailing 4-1 just 7 minutes into the middle period.

Holtby blamed himself for Oscar Lindberg’s game-opening goal, saying he found Kevin Hayes’ shot late and kicked the rebound right to Lindberg.

He also took the blame for the Rangers’ third goal by Kevin Klein, saying he gave him too much net at which to shoot.

Capitals coach Barry Trotz did not completely absolve his goalie, either, saying he considered pulling him after two periods.

“They had four on 10 shots,” Trotz said. “When Holts is on he can get a couple of those, but we gave him some pretty good looks too and he stopped a couple of point blankers. That’s the way it goes.

“He’s one of the best goaltenders in the National Hockey League. I played him a lot (last season) and I’m going to play him a lot (this season). That’s why I let him fight through that. We debated whether to pull him after the second but he’s one of our top players and I’m going to stick with him and let him fight through it.”

The Caps’ power play twice had a chance to get them back into the game but failed both times, late in the opening period (which extended into the second) and midway through the second period. The Caps fell to 0-for-9 on the man-advantage their last four games.

“They got momentum at the end of our power play,” Trotz said. “That’s two games in a row and that’s got to stop.”

Several Caps said they liked the way they played in the second period, but acknowledged they need to tighten things up better in front of Holtby, who allowed five goals for the first time since a 5-0 loss to the San Jose Sharks in the second game of the season.

“I think you look at our team and you see we can do some things very well and other things, we talk about playing the right way,” Trotz said.

“At points in the game we didn’t play the right way and got burnt by it. Holtby’s been an eraser for us many nights when we haven’t been good and (Henrik) Lundqvist has been an eraser for them when they’re not as good as they can be. That’s why goaltending is such a big part of game.” 

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Capitals trim two more from roster, sending pair of goalies to Hershey

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Capitals trim two more from roster, sending pair of goalies to Hershey

Washington made a number of cuts Saturday morning to trim their roster down to 43 players

On Saturday night, they cut it down to 41 as the team announced goalies Parker Milner and Adam Morrison were assigned to AHL Hershey.

Milner and Morrison’s departure leaves Washington with four goalies on the current roster in Braden Holtby, Pheonix Copley, Vitek Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov.

The trade of Philipp Grubauer left the backup role in Washington a matter of some question heading into the season, but the team’s top four was never really in doubt. Saturday’s move to send Milner and Morrison to the AHL only confirms what we already knew.

With Hershey’s training camp set to start on Monday, the Bears will obviously need two goalies which explains why the move was made now. 

This will likely only be a temporary move, however, as Vanecek and Samsonov are likely to be Hershey’s goalies heading into the regular season. For now, keeping them on the Capitals roster allows them to continue practicing against better competition and will allow them the opportunity for more work in the preseason.

The Capitals still have another three preseason games left to play, the next of which will take place on Tuesday in St. Louis. 

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Capitals make another round of cuts sending several players to Hershey

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Capitals make another round of cuts sending several players to Hershey

With Hershey Bears training camp set to start on Monday, the Caps have sent a number of players to the AHL in the latest round of roster cuts. Mathias Bau, Hampus Gustafsson, Beck Malenstyn, Mason Mitchell, Brian Pinho, Kristofers Bindulis, Tobias Geisser have all been returned to Hershey. Grant Besse, who was on an AHL contract, has been returned as well. Mark Simpson has been released from his tryout agreement.

Of the players returned, there are no major surprises. The Caps only have room to add a fourth line center and possibly one or two extra forwards as well as a backup goalie and none of the players listed were in serious contention for taking one of those spots.

The moves cut Washington’s roster down to 43. The maximum roster allowed in-season is 23 players, provided the salaries fit under the $79.5 million salary cap ceiling.

The latest round of cuts still leave up for grabs the fourth line center job as Nic Dowd, Travis Boyd and Jayson Megna still remain on the current roster.

After playing four preseason games, the Caps have three more contests remaining before the start of the season. With plenty of prospects still on the roster, you can expect several of those players to be in the lineup for Tuesday’s game in St. Louis.

“For me, it's really important, really important for the overall direction of our organization to have our young players playing games,” head coach Todd Reirden said Friday. “We have to have them playing games. We can easily put out almost our entire roster to play [Friday’s] game, but that is not where we're at. We're about developing players within our organization, seeing where they're at, gauging the success that maybe they've already had in terms of their careers and seeing whether they're ready for this step or not.

“For the first four games you go through for sure a trial and error and you get to really gauge where your prospects are at. I've always felt strongly about that with young players and given them an opportunity to either stay or leave. It is in their hands. They're making the decisions for me.”

 

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