Holtby leads the NHL in victories and is considered the Capitals’ team MVP by coach Barry Trotz and captain Alex Ovechkin. He left late in the second period when he was bothered by dehydration issues, but Trotz said it was not a serious problem.
"I think it’s playing a little bit yesterday, flying, all those things," Trotz said. "I don’t think there’s anything other than that."
Holtby made 20 saves to pick up his league-leading 29th win, and backup Philipp Grubauer stopped all 11 shots he faced as the Capitals beat the Rangers 5-2. It was the second consecutive day Grubauer replaced Holtby, though Saturday night it was because Washington was losing to the Buffalo Sabres.
Grubauer didn’t know what was wrong with Holtby. But with 2:18 left in the second period of a one-goal game, he couldn’t stop to think about it.
"He didn’t get hit, so I was like, ‘What happened?"’ Grubauer said. "But at that point I can’t worry too much. It’s not always nice to see something like that happen. You don’t always know how severe it is or what exactly happened. I hope he’s OK and I think he’s OK."
The 26-year-old has dealt with dehydration in the past. Holtby overcame heat and dehydration to beat the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena in March 2012.
Teammates were relieved to hear that Holtby was not injured. Winger Justin Williams, who recorded his second career hat trick, quipped, "Get him an IV."
More than that, the Capitals were glad Grubauer shut the door on the Rangers after replacing Holtby.
"Yes impressed but just expected," Williams said. "To come in halfway through a game that you don’t think you’re playing, on back-to-back days, shows that he’s ready — mentally ready."