ESPN NHL columnist Scott Burnside weighed in on Washington’s trio of goalies in a blog post on Thursday. Burnside said that despite his lack of experience, 21 year old Braden Holtby “might give the Caps the best chance at playoff success.”
Michal Neuvirth got the start Wednesday and played well but looked bad on the winning goal. The loss ended the Caps’ nine-game winning streak. Rookie Braden Holtby had won the previous five games, and GM George McPhee told a small group of us at the GMs’ meetings that if coach Bruce Boudreau’s decision is that Holtby will start in the playoffs the team will carry three goaltenders. Holtby is the only one of the three (Semyon Varlamov is the other) that could be sent back to the minors without having to clear waivers, but right now he might give the Caps the best chance at playoff success. Stay tuned.
Holtby saw success with the Capitals in five of their nine games during the win streak and earned a shootout and an overtime win, but has been in the net just 13 times for Washington this season. While he certainly has proven to be a valuable asset to the Capitals, is it he ready for playoff hockey?
I have always been pro-Semyon Varlamov when it comes to this argument, especially after his stellar performance against the Penguins in the Winter Classic. But his ailing injuries have forced me to believe that Michal Neuvirth is the guy Washington wants in the goal during the playoffs. Which isn’t a bad thing.
Neuvy was also a part of five straight wins for Washington between Feb. 26-Mar. 7. He brings more experience than Holtby and has averages just 2.49 goals against per game. If Washington gets Jason Arnott back, which they should, Neuvy’s numbers could be what the Caps need for a postseason run.