The Washington Capitals are moving on to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in 20 years and Don Cherry credits Braden Holtby for getting them there.
“I’m so glad because he got the gears during the season and he came back like a good guy,” Cherry said during Coach’s Corner on Monday. “And he’s ready, now they’re going to go on. Way to go.”
Holtby has been the starter in Washington since the 2013-14 season but head coach Barry Trotz caused some controversy in Round 1 when he started backup Philipp Grubauer for the first two games. But after the Columbus Blue Jackets took a 2-0 series lead, Trotz put Holtby in the net and hasn’t looked back since.
The Lloydminster, Sask., native has picked up eight wins in 10 playoff starts, posting a 2.04 goals-against average and .926 save percentage.
In Monday’s Game 6 against the Penguins, a 2-1 win in overtime, he made 21 saves including two in the extra frame.
Now he and his Capitals teammates enter uncharted territory with a berth in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are a great team, but if the last two rounds are any indication, Holtby and the Capitals will be tough to beat.