The Washington Times - April 12, 2012, 01:27PM

BOSTON | The Boston Bruins don’t seem too concerned about Braden Holtby. Chris Kelly thought the young Washington Capitals goaltender had played in 100 NHL games.

No, just 21. Maybe Kelly’s thinking of Michal Neuvirth.


But the Bruins’ game plan against Holtby is simple.

Just hit the net and try to get traffic in front of him and make it difficult on him,” Kelly said.

That was obvious from the moment the Bruins knew they’d be facing the Caps. General manager Peter Chiarelli complimented Holtby but also noted his lack of experience.

“Generally speaking when a goalie’s inexperienced going into playoffs, there’s some nervousness, so you have to be opportunistic and get at it right away,” Chiarelli said.

This will be Holtby’s first Stanley Cup Playoff game, and just his 17th at any level dating to the 2005-06 season.

There’s always nerves, but the key to the nerves is channeling them in the right direction and using them to your advantage,” Holtby said earlier this week. “I can’t really speak too much of it because I haven’t done it yet. I feel pretty confident in our group and myself that we’ll be able to channel it in the right direction and come out strong in the first game.”

As GM George McPhee pointed out, the Caps don’t have any other choice but to go with Holtby in this spot, with Neuvirth and Tomas Vokoun both injured.

But coach Dale Hunter on Thursday afternoon voiced confidence in Holtby, who is 4-1-0 with a 1.99 goals-against average and .936 save percentage since being called back up in March.

He’s been kind of in the fire for the last two or three weeks here playing some tough games,” Hunter said. “He’s a confident kid and he can’t wait to play.”

Holding court with reporters for the fourth straight day, Holtby was brief and to the point about how he was preparing for his first taste of the playoffs with the Caps.

I just try to go about my usual ways,” he said. “If you start changing things up, you get too wrapped up in everything. I just want to go have fun.”