Washington Capitals Braden Holtby Returns to Practice After Eye Injury

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Braden Holtby
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 15: Michal Kempny #6 follows in as goalie Braden Holtby #70 of the Washington Capitals makes a save on a shot by Pierre-Luc Dubois #18 of the Columbus Blue Jackets in the third period during Game Two of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Capital One Arena on April 15, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

The Washington Capitals announced that goaltender Braden Holtby returned to practice after leaving Saturday night’s game with an eye injury. There was concern that this was going to be a long-term injury.

Braden Holtby Returns to Practice

Holtby took a stick to the face from Columbus Blue Jackets forward Cam Atkinson. He left the game and didn’t return. Backup goaltender Pheonix Copley took over the goaltending duties for the night.

This season, Holtby has played in 30 games with 29 starts for the Capitals. He put up a 17-10-2 record with a 2.86 goals against average and .912 save percentage and two shutouts.

Holtby has spent his entire six-year career with the Capitals. He has put up a 242-99-37 career record in 391 career appearances with 382 career starts. He also has a 2.45 goals against average, .919 save percentage, and 34 shutouts. The Washington Capitals originally drafted Copley in the fourth round, 93rd overall in the 2008 NHL draft.

What This Means for the Future

It would have been a major loss for the Capitals as Holtby is their clear cut number one goaltender and was named to his fourth all-star game this year. Copley has had a very strong first half as Holtby’s back-up. The Caps back-up goaltender has been putting up fantastic numbers this season as well. Copley is 10-2-2 with a 2.59 goals-against average and .916 save percentage. He will see a bulk of the starts moving forward with Holtby out of the line-up.

Goaltender Ilya Samsonov would have been called up from Hersey to back-up Copley. Samsonov is 5-11-0 with a 3.42 goals against average and .861 save percentage in 17 games with the Bears this season. The Caps signed Samsonov over the Summer after he spent the first four years of his career in the KHL. However, Caps fans can breathe easy with Holtby being ready to go.

WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 15: Michal Kempny #6 follows in as goalie Braden Holtby #70 of the Washington Capitals makes a save on a shot by Pierre-Luc Dubois #18 of the Columbus Blue Jackets in the third period during Game Two of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Capital One Arena on April 15, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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