Braden Holtby (via NHL/YouTube)
Braden Holtby had only one shutout heading into Monday night’s action, but made an unbelievable stop late in Washington’s tilt against Buffalo to secure his second clean sheet of the season. Holtby is now in the top 10 for save percentage, goals-against average, wins and shutout.
Washington Capitals netminder Braden Holtby is a clear cut frontrunner for the Vezina Trophy and he’s going to be turning even more heads after he made one of the best saves of the season Monday.
Down 2-0 late in the third, the Sabres had an extra attacker on the ice when a shot from the blueline deflected on its way to the net and took a fortuitous bounce onto the tape of Buffalo winger Evander Kane. Kane, alone at the side of the net, shifted the puck from his backhand to his forehand for what looked like a sure goal.
Holtby had other plans. In a second, he shot across the net and absolutely robbed Kane with a fantastic glove stop:
Not only was Holtby’s stop his best of the night, it was a shutout-saver as the Capitals netminder picked up his second clean sheet of the year.
In the off-season, Holtby signed a five-year, $30.5-million deal, and he’s earned every dollar of that contract this season. Holtby is either leading or among the leaders of every statistical category for netminders this season. His second shutout moves him into a tie for eighth in that category, while his 1.86 goals-against average ranks first, .935 save percentage ranks second and he leads the league with 23 wins.