- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 18, 2009

SEEN AND HEARD AT VERIZON CENTER

Much of the focus on who could be the Washington Capitals‘ goaltender of the future has centered on Simeon Varlamov and Michal Neuvirth, but there is another guy who could be a factor in a few years. Braden Holtby, a fourth-round pick by the Caps in June, is having a breakout season with Saskatoon of the Western Hockey League. Holtby is 24-10-3 with a .911 save percentage and a 2.64 goals-against average for the Blades, the same junior team Caps defenseman Mike Green played for. Holtby won only 25 games last season, in part because the Blades finished in fifth place in their division.

This season, Holtby is one of the top netminders in the WHL. He is third in wins and second in games played for the Blades, who are atop the East Division with 64 points - three fewer than they had last year.

Holtby was born Sept. 16, 1989 - one day earlier, and he would have been in the 2007 draft. He could spend another year in junior hockey or challenge for a spot next season with either the Hershey Bears or South Carolina Stingrays on the Caps’ crowded goalie depth chart.

- Corey Masisak

BY THE NUMBERS

21 More points this season for Boston’s David Krejci than he had all of last season; he is the only player among the league’s top 15 scorers who has already surpassed his 2007-08 output.

14 Straight games with a goal for Alexandre Giroux, who scored again Saturday night for the Hershey Bears - Giroux tied Brett Hull’s AHL record for consecutive games with a tally.

THREE STARS

Alexander Semin

There is talent, and then there is whatever that guy has

Tim Thomas

Had a strong night but was beat by two perfect shots

John Erskine

Played nearly 20 minutes and was a menace with open-ice hits

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