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The Hurricanes had plenty of chances in the first 10 minutes against Holtby, who managed to get through without much damage.

“I felt a little out of control, a little erratic at times,” he said. “It was nice to get through that little patch, and then I felt a lot better after that.”

Holtby finished with a regular-season career-high 43 saves, but it was his performance during the fumbling first few minutes that was most important.

“I really think Holtby stepped up,” center Nicklas Backstrom said. “And he made some huge saves for us. First 15 minutes we weren’t into the game at all. We were sloppy. We looked lost out there.”

What was lost the Caps eventually found as they kept the winning streak going.

“Guys are positive in this room right now,” Brouwer said. “It’s easier to do that when you’re winning than it is when you’re losing.”