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The Noon Number: Doing Their Jobs

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A look at the Caps’ masked men giving them a chance every night

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Washington Capitals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

0 - Number of “Really Bad Starts” for Braden Holtby and Philipp Grubauer so far this season, per Hockey-Reference (which defines the Rob Vollman-developed stat as any start in which the goalie saves less than 85% of the shots he faces), making the Caps are the only team in the League without a RBS so far (Florida, New Jersey and Columbus have one team RBS apiece; Philadelphia has already racked up seven such starts).

At the other end of the netminding spectrum, the Caps rank sixth in team Quality Start percentage, with 61.9% of starts meeting Vollman’s definition (starts with an above-League-average save percentage or at least 88.5% on nights with 20 or fewer shots against). There, Minnesota and Nashville lead the way with 72.7 QS percentages, followed by Eastern Conference rivals Montreal (69.6%) and Columbus and the Rangers (both at 66.7%).

On an individual level, Holtby has provided a Quality Start in nine of his 16 starts (56.3%, down from last year’s 63.6%), and Grubauer has been “Quality” in four of his five starts. Neither man has yielded more than four goals in an outing (or been yanked from a start), a total Holtby has given up twice and Grubauer once. As a point of reference, 37 different goalies have already have given up five or more goals in a game this season, led by Semyon Varlmov’s five games, and the Caps are the only team in the League that hasn’t yet given up five goals with a goalie in net (the fifth goal-against in their one five-GA game was into an empty net).

In other words, the Caps’ goalies are giving the team a chance to win just about every game.