- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Braden Holtby took a simple approach to practice on Tuesday morning, knowing full well that an NHL record was within reach in the Washington Capitals’ game against the New York Islanders that night.

“If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen,” he said. “It’s kind of what got us here is just enjoying the game, enjoying the challenge, trying to win, see what the game puts in front of you as an obstacle and try to overcome it.”

Holtby could equal Martin Brodeur’s record of 48 wins by a goaltender should the Capitals defeat the Islanders on Tuesday night. Brodeur, who set his record in 2006-07, did it over the course of 78 games; Holtby’s start on Tuesday would be just his 64th appearance.

Although Holtby played in 73 games last season, tying a Capitals record, he didn’t aim to break the record this year. Instead, he said his focus was on surpassing 40 wins for the second consecutive year; when the Capitals beat the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 1, he was only the seventh goaltender to hit that mark in back-to-back seasons.

“I think that’s something I’d be very pleased for Braden, but I really look at it as a team success,” coach Barry Trotz said. “I think everybody’s been a part of that, but obviously, Braden is the guy in net for us and he’s been, maybe, probably, our MVP this year.”

Players have said that they want to set the record for Holtby, who also views it as more of a team accomplishment than an individual one. Should the Capitals fail to do so on Tuesday, they have three more opportunities, including two home games, before the playoffs begin.

“I hope it’s not too stressful for them,” Holtby said. “It doesn’t usually work out too well when you try to force things. It’s obviously nice because it’s a team thing. It really is. We’re just trying to gain as much momentum these last four games as we can.”

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