Braden Holtby Image – Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire
It wasn’t quite Braden Holtby’s turn to re-appear in Pro Reads just yet, but after watching the resurgent Dallas Stars goalie make history in his 500th NHL game on Tuesday, punctuating a record-setting, 39-save win with a three-save sequence that included both a scorpion and a pads-stacked windmill, we had to go back to ‘HoltBeast’ sooner than planned.
Anytime you break a mark set by Jacques Plante, it deserves a little extra love from the goalie union, and Holtby did just that with his 293rd NHL win, surpassing Plante’s 292 as the most ever through 500 games. That goes double when you finish it with a sequence like this:
It was Holtby’s second game back after missing time with an injury that coach Rick Bowness confirmed negatively affected his play for a four-game stretch while trying to play through it and boosted his save percentage to .927 for the season. While we don’t have a breakdown of that spectacular last-minute sequence from the Vezina Trophy- and Stanley Cup-winning goalie, we did recently sit down with Holtby for 30 minutes of Pro Reads video review, and that includes a couple of breakdowns of desperation saves. So, to honor Holtby’s late-game sequence and record-setting milestone, we’re going to double up with two videos.
This sequence against the New York Rangers is a lesson in awareness, because as we see as it starts, Holtby’s new Stars teammates appear to be in good shape to exit the zone cleanly:
Of course, things don’t always go as planned, even when it’s an NHL defenseman with the puck on his stick and time, space and passing options in front of him.
Less than two second later, this is what Holtby is facing:
That’s Artemi Panarin cutting in on net on his forehand, but looking back at that first freeze frame, are we sure the skilled Russian forward is the most dangerous option? Is there something — or someone — else Holtby needs to consider before locking in on Panarin?
As we look at Holtby’s depth above, do you think he’s worried about anyone else?
Now let’s watch the entire sequence to see how if you correctly identified the other threat.
Seeing that backside threat emerge after making a hit behind the net just before the Stars defender blew a tire makes it clear Panarin isn’t the only — or necessarily even the most dangerous threat — in this surprise sequence. The question you may be left asking is how aware Holtby was of it, especially given his positioning in that freeze frame above.
THE PRO READ
Let’s check in with Holtby to find out:
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