The Washington Times - March 10, 2013, 09:49PM

Braden Holtby is usually good at concealing his emotions, save for a flare-up here and there. After getting yanked from Sunday’s game against the New York Rangers, the young Washington Capitals goaltender slammed his stick before going down the tunnel.

Holtby got the hook 11:34 into the second period after allowing three goals on 19 shots. Asked how he would assess his game, he said: “It has to be better, simple as that. That’s all I can really say.”

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Derek Stepan banked a shot from below the goal line in off Holtby’s skate for goal No. 1. Brian Boyle beat him from above the circles on a delayed penalty for goal No. 2. Ryan Callahan deflected Rick Nash’s snipe in for goal No. 3.

Adam Oates had seen enough, saying he pulled Holtby for Michal Neuvirth “mostly to stop momentum.”

“The first goal, obviously a little bit of bad luck,” the Caps’ coach said. “But the game is – obviously we’re in good control and made it even playing field. I thought maybe the second one he should have had. And then they score the third one. And I know it got deflected, but PP and I wanted to [change] momentum.”

Neuvirth allowed a goal on 11 shots in relief.

Holtby lamented the second goal more than anything else. He called it a big one and said “that can’t go in.”

“The second one I just didn’t see,’ Holtby said. “I lost it for some reason; I don’t know if I was screened or not. … I have to be better.”

Oates said he didn’t think Holtby had his ” ‘A’ game” against the Rangers. But it would be stunning if he doesn’t start Tuesday against the Carolina Hurricanes and probably again Thursday in Raleigh, N.C.

Holtby is the guy for the Caps, having started 12 of the past 13 games. He has a 2.29 goals-against average and .930 save percentage in that time.

Asked if he was surprised to get pulled, Holtby said he didn’t know.

“My mindset’s I want to finish every game, so I don’t really think about that,” he said. “If that’s in the coach’s best interest to do, then I respect his decision. I’d like to battle through every challenge that I’m faced with, but that’s just the way it is.”