The Washington Times - February 14, 2012, 09:59AM

Braden Holtby didn’t know how long it would last. Recalled before 10 a.m. Monday, he started in goal for the Washington Capitals Monday night against the San Jose Sharks.

“I was just happy to get today’s game, try to make an impression and hopefully work towards some more starts,” he said after a 5-3 loss in which he allowed five goals on 35 shots.

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Those starts, at least for the time being, will have to come back with the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League. The Caps reassigned him there roughly 24 hours after bringing him up. They also sent enforcer Joel Rechlicz and offensive-minded forward Keith Aucoin back to Hershey.

Holtby was a fill-in for sick goalie Tomas Vokoun on Monday night, starting over NHL backup Michal Neuvirth. And though his numbers weren’t good and he allowed at least one soft goal and arguably more, his teammates did not blame him.

“I feel bad for the guy being called up right away and put in this situation and no one helping him out,” defenseman Jeff Schultz said.

Rechlicz was recalled, coach Dale Hunter said, because of a hit Sharks tough guy Brad Winchester laid on Alexander Semin last month. He played 1:30 and got a 10-minute misconduct for jawing at Ryan Clowe from the Caps’ bench.

Aucoin played in five games during this NHL call-up, though he was a healthy scratch Monday night to make room for Rechlicz. The AHL scoring machine did not register a point and had a minus-1 rating this time around with the Caps.

Barring other roster moves, this could mean Mike Knuble returning to the lineup Friday at the Florida Panthers after being a healthy scratch three straight games.