The Caps found a way to lose, despite a late lead and...
Braden Holtby Injured in Overtime Loss
In a sluggish, stop-filled game that mimicked the weather and traffic pattern outside of Capital One Arena, the Washington Capitals managed to get a point in a 2-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Both Alex Ovechkin and Braden Holtby exited the game for extended periods of time, with the Caps’ captain returning and the goaltender staying out after a high stick came inside his mask.
Head coach Todd Reirden said the team had no update on his condition, would continue to evaluate him tonight, and will issue an update tomorrow.
Rierden described Ovechkin’s reason for leaving as an open cut on his hand that needed stitches before he could return to play.
Holtby took a high stick inside of his mask from Cam Atkinson partway through the second period, which did draw a penalty but also forced the Capitals’ starter to exit the game. Backup Pheonix Copley came off the bench to relieve him for the rest of the game as training staff evaluated Holtby.
The team hoped Holtby would return, but Copley remained in the contest and made 10 saves in the loss.
Holtby was last injured in November of 2018 with an upper-body injury, and the Caps called up Ilya Samsonov to backup Copley in for a few games.
Atkinson scored exactly 60 seconds into the contest, while Evgeny Kuznetsov scored with 66 seconds to go in regulation, and Artemi Panarin ended the game with 90 seconds left in overtime.
Panarin and a few of his teammates imitated Kuznetsov’s bird walk celebration after the game-winner. Kuznetsov laughed it off.
“It’s nice that they are thinking of me,” he said.
If Holtby is out for any extended period of time, Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek are the Hershey Bears goalies to choose from. The Bears do have a game to play Sunday afternoon against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, with the next Capitals game scheduled for Monday against St. Louis.
Samsonov did not play during his brief call-up, and Vanecek has yet to be called up in his three years in North America. Both are on entry-level deals, with Vanecek making $714,167 at the NHL level per CapFriendly. Samsonov makes $925,500 if he is on an NHL roster. Both are exempt from waivers.
In 18 games for the Bears, Vanecek has a .903 save percentage and allows 2.80 goals a game. Following tonight’s shutout win over the Phantoms, Samsonov has a .861 save percentage and has allowed 3.82 goals a game in 17 contests.