Braden Holtby To Make Stanley Cup Playoffs Debut

By Matt Geiser

It is almost no surprise now that 22-year-old Braden Holtby will be getting the start in game 1 of the Washington Capitals vs. Boston Bruins first round series. Holtby was called back up to the NHL at the beginning of March when starting goalie Tomas Vokoun went down with an apparent groin injury.

When Vokoun returned to the lineup, questions were asked about who the Capitals would go with once the playoffs rolled around. Well no more than a week later and Vokoun went down again after re-aggravating his groin. It then seemed Michal Neuvirth would be the go to goalie in the playoffs. But in the Capitals’ 81st game of the season, the playoff clinching game a week before the Capitals first round series, Neuvirth went down himself with a lower-body injury.

That injury has led Braden Holtby to be the front runner for who Dale Hunter will go with to start the series. With Washington calling up Holtby’s backup from the AHL Dany Sabourin, it appears that two fresh, rookie goalies will be the tandem in net for the Washington Capitals as the playoffs start.

The ailing Neuvirth did not participate at the KCI this morning in the team’s skate, nor did he show up to stretch on his own prior to practice. However, in lieu of his absence this morning he is still scheduled to make the trip to Boston for the first two games of the series. Neuvirth skated with the team yesterday, the first time since injuring his leg last on April 5.

Vokoun on the other hand did some light stretching and worked on his lateral movement in net prior to the team skate. This was Vokoun’s second straight day of on-ice workouts, but he will not make the trip to Boston with the team.

That leaves Holtby to step up and be the big man in net for the Capitals. When asked about starting in the playoffs, Holtby responded with he is excited, but he still has to prepare like it is any other game.

What do you think? Do you believe that a young, 22-year-old can show up the defending Stanley Cup Champions?

A side note from the Bruins side of things: General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced that forward Nathan Horton will be out for the duration of the playoffs with a concussion. The injury occured on January 22, and he has missed the past 36 games.

Follow Matthew on twitter @Geiser19.

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