Braden Holtby admitted that when he first got called up to the Capitals back in the fall, he got caught up in being in the NHL – perhaps he was a bit star struck.
This past week, though the Caps rookie goaltender was the star, as Holtby was named NHL first star of the week.
“I got told this morning and I was pretty thrilled about it,” Holtby said Monday afternoon in a conference call, clearly getting used to the media attention.
Holtby – who only stepped in because of injuries to Michal Neuvirth and Semyon Varlamov – went 4-0-0 with a 1.05 goals-against average and .965 save percentage this past week. During his postgame comments Sunday, Caps coach Bruce Boudreau said, “I’ll go out on a limb and say he’s player of the week this week.”
Holtby finished ahead of second star Daniel Sedin of the Canucks (three goals, five assists) and Corey Perry of the Ducks (five goals, two assists) to pick up the second since first-star honor for a Caps goalie this season. Semyon Varlamov received it back in January for his play late in December and into 2011.
“It’s nice to see that I guess you’re getting recognized a bit, but at the same time it’s only one week,” Holtby said. “I wanna keep going and keep this winning streak going as long as we can.”
The Caps ride an eight-game winning streak into Tuesday’s game at the Montreal Canadiens. Holtby said he was excited to experience the Bell Centre for the first time but hadn’t been told whether he was starting. Boudreau said Sunday that Michal Neuvirth is “good to go,” but decided to go with Holtby vs. Chicago because the rookie was playing so well.