Ramblings – Playoff talk, Philly implodes and Minny strikes (April 19)

Neil Parker

2016-04-19

Mike Richards - USA TODAY Sports Images

 

Braden Holtby in cruise control, Minny capitalizes on scoring chances and more …

 

 

You don't need to praise the goaltending in a 6-1 win, but Braden Holtby has saved 91 of 93 shots through the first three games.

That'll do.

For the majority of the series, including for most of Game 3, Washington hasn't been able to shut the door on Philadelphia, either. In fact, the Flyers drove the play at even strength through the first two games with more shot attempts (91-75) at five-on-five.

In Game 3, Philadelphia just didn't have an answer for the Capitals power play. If anyone listened to the CBC broadcast, this point was certainly not lost on you, either.

However, once again, the Flyers attempted more shots than Washington (48-32) at five-on-five.

Holtby's play has made this series look like a cakewalk for the Capitals, but he has turned away 27 of 28 high-danger scoring chances and made all the easy saves.

It is possible Washington is still finding its top form following three months of meaningless hockey, but it hasn't matted. Holtby has this thing locked into cruise control.

All said, there is a reason Washington had things wrapped up by January, and as long as Holtby is playing at a historic level, the Capitals should remain the favorites.

Who are you taking before Holtby next year? Not just in nets, but overall.

 

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There hasn't been a lot of talk about Mike Richards, and just how significant his role — on and off the ice — is with Washington is up for debate, but he can't possibly hurt. He was a possession drain through the first two games of the series, but he still plays a feisty game and hasn't looked out of place as he did before his demotion during the 2014-15 season.

If we're calling the Capitals the favorites, and I am, it would make four Stanley Cup Finals appearances and potentially three cups for Richards. Add a Memorial Cup, a World Junior Hockey Championship, a Calder Cup and an Olympic Gold Medal and it is an incredible collection of hardware.

It isn't out of the question to think a committed Richards can't play another two, three or five more seasons, either. It is a rare comeback-success story in the league these days. Many people doubted Richards would ever play in the league again, let alone be where he is right now. Up to here, it has been a great risk-free grab by Washington.

 

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Brooks Orpik left the game Monday, and it didn't look likely he'll be back anytime soon. The broadcast team sort of posed the question of the legality of the hit. If that is somehow suspension worthy, you mi