WASHINGTON — Braden Holtby came into Friday night’s game with 199 wins and a chance to reach 200 faster than any other goaltender besides Hall of Famer Ken Dryden.
Who better to face than the Pittsburgh Penguins?
In his career, Holtby is just 7-8 against the Pens, one of four teams against which he has a losing record. A win on Friday would whittle that down to three and give him another historic milestone.
“Special players on good teams. That’s the first thing that comes to mind. Obviously, a Hall-of-Fame guy in Ken Dryden,” Trotz said, reflecting on Holtby’s success. “That says a lot about Braden’s body of work in his era in Washington to this point. There’s no question.
“We’ve won a lot of hockey games since I’ve been here with Braden. That’s the reason he’s a No. 1 goalie. He’s put up good numbers. We’ve had good teams, but you’ve still got to win those games. When you’re not playing well, you’ve got to steal some games, and he’s done all of the above.”
This season, the Caps are 8-7-1, which is good for a disappointing seventh in the Metro Division. The good news is that the Caps are 8-3 with Holtby in the net.
Trotz understands the connection between Holtby and the team’s success.
“Nothing gives a coach more comfort than your goaltending, I’ll tell you that,” he said. “In football, it’s your quarterback. In hockey, it’s your goaltender. If you don’t have goaltending in this league, you cannot win. It’s impossible to win without goaltending.”