Washington Capitals: Braden Holtby Shines in Net as Caps Defeat Carolina 3-0

Barry LeonardAnalyst IIIFebruary 26, 2013

Feb 26, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby (70) saves the shot by Carolina Hurricanes right wing Patrick Dwyer (39) at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Capitals continue to give fans a reason to believe that the 2013 season is not a lost cause. Goalie Braden Holtby recorded yet another solid performance and led the Capitals to an impressive 3-0 victory over the division-leading Carolina Hurricanes.

Holtby, who has an unimpressive record of 5-6, has been playing well as of late. Tuesday's victory marks his fifth in the last seven games.

Against the Hurricanes, Holtby stopped all 33 shots that he faced and looks to be rounding into the form that impressed many in last year's playoffs.

The shutout was his second of the year and the fifth of his young career.

Nicklas Backstrom got the scoring started in the first period with a power-play goal that was assisted by Mike Ribeiro and Alexander Ovechkin. The goal was just Backstrom's second of the shortened season. Ribeiro, who leads the team in points, has now recorded a point in four straight games.

Washington took a 1-0 lead into the locker room.

The Capitals came out firing after the break, as defenseman John Erskine found the back of the net just 31 seconds into the frame. Nicklas Backstrom and John Carlson assisted on the score.

Carlson later added a goal of his own, connecting in the third period on a pass from Mathieu Perreault and Joel Ward.

Washington played a complete game, outshooting the 'Canes 40-33 and playing mistake-free defense. Carolina had just two power play chances in the game.

The victory was the second straight for a Caps team that looks to have finally found its groove. With the 48-game season, starting slow becomes more of an obstacle to make the playoffs. Washington will need more performances like this one to climb back into the race for the postseason.

The Caps will look to keep the momentum of a two-game win streak going when they head to Philadelphia for a matchup with the Flyers on Wednesday night.