Washington Capitals: Eleven Reasons To Be Thankful

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Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The Goalies

While we’re acknowledging magnificent individual efforts, we have to include our tandem of goaltenders: Braden Holtby and Philipp Grubauer. With less incredible players, we’d probably lose games like the one on Monday night against the Edmonton Oilers. Braden is the first real semi-permanent fixture in the Washington net since Olaf Kolzig. Elite goaltenders are a rare commodity in the modern NHL and we have one in Holtby. Be thankful for that, folks.

I remember watching Holtby play for the first time back in March 2011 against the Montreal Canadiens (who were very good at the time) and thinking, ‘I hope he’s ready for the big lights to be on him’. Well, as it turned out, he was. He faced 18 shots and denied all of them from finding twine behind him. He picked up the shutout and eventually earned his spot as the number one goaltender in the Washington net. He’s worked hard since that first game that I saw him and he’s earned his spot as one of the league’s elite.

Philipp Grubauer has had a pretty incredible ride with the team as well in retrospect. With a surplus of backup netminders in the greater Capitals affiliated network of teams, Grubauer has done really well in proving his worth as a reliable backup. Remember when Holtby became ill before last season’s game two of the Islander series and Grubauer got the short notice call up from Hershey and helped us beat Jaro Halak’s squad 4-3 after losing game one? That was a pretty clutch performance by our favorite German backstop. Thank you, Philipp.

Next: The Men Pulling the Strings