Braden Holtby will hold the NHL wins record.
With four games left in the regular season for the Washington Capitals, Holtby needs just one win to tie Martin Brodeur for the NHL wins record with 48 victories. Holtby can certainly win one of the Capitals’ final four games to be the co-holder of the regular season wins record, along with Brodeur, if nothing else. Two victories in four games is certainly not out of reach, for Holtby to hold the record by himself. [pull_quote_right author=”Alex Ovechkin”]We’re going to do our best to help him out. Maybe it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.[/pull_quote_right]
Holtby has the backing of his teammates in getting him the record. While a team might be inclined to rest their goaltender, with nothing left to play for as a team in the regular season, the Capitals will likely give Holtby a few more starts, if not all four. After all, with Holtby’s contribution to the team this season, he deserves the opportunity to earn this prestigious NHL record.
As teammate Alex Ovechkin was quoted in a recent Washington Post article: “We’re going to do our best to help him out. Maybe it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We’re going to do our best.” Head coach Barry Trotz has also stated that, in order to keep the team’s competitive edge, he will not sit any players out of the lineup unless they are injured. So Holtby will have the on-ice support of the best players on the team in attaining the wins record.
In the Capitals most recent game, a 3-0 shutout at the hands of the Arizona Coyotes, Holtby got some well deserved time on the pine. Backup netminder Philipp Grubauer got the start in that contest, while Holtby rested. So, with a respite from action, the Capitals starting goaltender should be ready to come back and claim the record.
Through 63 games this season, Holtby has picked up 47 victories. That’s a 74.6% win rate. When Brodeur set the record for most wins in an NHL regular season, he picked up 48 in 78 games for a 61.5% win rate. So, by one measure at least, Holtby has already surpassed the mark of one of the greatest, if not the greatest, goaltenders of all-time.
Since 1980, only one NHL goaltender has had a better win percentage than Holtby has had this season. That goaltender was Chris Osgood, who won 39 games in 50 played for an astounding 78% win rate.
His 2.17 goals-against-average currently has Holtby sitting fourth in the NHL for that category. Ben Bishop, who leads the league with a 2.00 GAA, is the only netminder in the top four close to Holtby’s 63 games played, with 59. Holtby’s save percentage is .923, good for seventh overall. No netminder above him in save percentage has played as many games as Holtby.
The Capitals do have four of the best NHL teams remaining on their regular season schedule. They will face the New York Islanders, who have been sliding a bit, at home on Tuesday. Look for Holtby to get that start, and possibly tie the wins record. Then they will face the Pittsburgh Penguins, who have been extremely hot, at home on Thursday. Holtby could get the nod in that one as well. They will then travel to St. Louis to take on a Blues squad which has already clinched a playoff spot, before finishing their regular season at home against the Anaheim Ducks, who have also punched their ticket to the playoffs.
It won’t be an easy road for Holtby to tie or outright claim the NHL wins record. But he can certainly do it. He’s got the backing of some of the best players, and teammates, in the league. And given his recent success, with six of his last eight games having been victories, there is no reason to doubt that he can pick up one win in the four remaining games.