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Caps' Braden Holtby in search of improvement

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BOSTON | Braden Holtby drew compliments from his Washington Capitals teammates and the Boston Bruins for his Game 1 performance, one heck of a playoff debut for the 22-year-old.

I thought he played very well. I didn’t see a lot of holes,” Bruins goalie Tim Thomas said. “He worked very hard. I’m hoping he expended a lot of energy and wore himself out a little bit, because I hope he doesn’t play that good every game.”

The Caps would probably be fine if Holtby played like that every game. In fact, they’d probably be in for a decent run if he can put together performances like that every time out.

But Holtby was hard on himself, both Thursday night and Friday, still upset he allowed the game-winning goal in overtime and wasn’t as sharp as he would have liked to be.

I made mistakes [Thursday] and I got lucky a few times,” Holtby said. “Probably things that I see that most people don’t see. I know it wasn’t a perfect game. I’m going to try to work toward that next game.”

That’s what the Japanese characters on his mask are for: Kaizen, continued improvement.

But Caps players told of Holtby’s self-criticism took it as a good thing.

“I think that shows his character. I think that he shows his first playoff game he has a shutout and then in overtime he lets in one goal and he still mad at himself,” defenseman John Carlson said. “I think that shows that he’s a battler. He wants it more than anyone so I think that’s great.”

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