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Braden Holtby may be the last option left for the Capitals as they head into the playoffs
Much like the Sharks, the Capitals have endured a disappointing season, battling down the final few games just to make the playoffs, this after an insane 7-0 start. But you can bet that the Boston Bruins are certainly not underestimating the Capitals, and are more than aware of how dangerous a team they could be, especially if Alex Ovechkin catches fire.
Of course, the sudden carousel of goalies in Washington has everyone guessing who will play when, and if it's true that Braden Holtby will have to shoulder the load, how could he possible handle it?
Alex Ovechkin - The superstar has had a bit of an "off" season, seeing his numbers go down in virtually every category while scoring the fewest points of his professional career. However, "Ovie" has shown in the past that he knows how to turn it on in big games, especially in the playoffs.
Ovechkin has been on a rampant pace for his career in the playoffs. He has scored 50 points in just 37 postseason games, a time when teams tighten up defensively and defensemen stick to their men like glue.
His big-game skills and talent will be crucial to the Capitals shaking off of a poor regular season and scoring a first-round upset over the Bruins.
Nicklas Backstrom's Return - The return of Nicklas Backstrom does nothing but help the entire lineup, and he has given the team a nice jolt of energy since returning four games before the end of the regular season. Backstrom's presence allows the Capitals to focus on constantly matching up defensively instead of trying to get the right matchup for their top line.
With low expectations, expect Washington to play well in this series, feeling no added pressure from a seventh place seeding.
Injuries To Goaltenders - Two weeks ago, you would have said that the Capitals had one of the more defined starter and backup roles at goaltender in the league. After trading away Semyon Varlamov, the Capitals brought in Tomas Vokounin for a steal of a price, leaving Michael Neuvirth as one of the more capable backups in the league.
Vokoun has been out since a Mar. 29th groin injury sidelined him, and an Apr. 5th injury to Michael Neuvirth has suddenly left the depth chart topped by Braden Holtby.
Holtby has only played in 22 career NHL games, seven of them coming this season, and doesn't have any playoff experience. His backup, at least for Game 1, will be Dany Sabourin, who has not appeared in an NHL game since 2009.
If Neuvirth or Vokoun are unable to make it back at any point during this series, it is surely far too much to ask of two inexperienced goalies to carry the Capitals past the defending Stanley Cup Champion Bruins.
Special Teams - The Capitals were not particularly strong on either end of special teams. Their power play ranked 18th, and their penalty-kill was just inside the worst 10 in the league at 21st. With shaky goaltending, the Capitals will be looking for some aspect of the game that will give them an edge, and special teams probably won't be it.
The season-long woes on special teams was a big factor in making the Capitals one of just two playoff teams with a negative goals for/goals against differential.