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Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby bounces the puck on his stick during third period of an NHL hockey game against the Montreal Canadiens in Montreal, Saturday.

Graham Hughes/Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

No team enters the playoffs with bigger injury issues than the Washington Capitals.

They're down both goalies from their usual tandem, with Tomas Vokoun looking very unlikely to play in these playoffs at all due to a serious groin injury and Michal Neuvirth questionable with what's believed to be a leg injury.

Vokoun isn't even travelling to Boston to watch his team take part in Game 1 on Thursday while Neuvirth will be on hand likely only as the third goalie.

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That leaves Washington, picked by many as a Stanley Cup favourite prior to the season, going in as a seventh seed against the defending champs with rookie Braden Holtby as starter and journeyman Dany Sabourin as backup.

So this doesn't appear to be the Caps year -- unless Holby can author a Cinderella story.

Only 22, he may even have that potential. He has only played 21 career NHL games, but his record is 14-4-3 with a .929 save percentage.

The Lloydminster, Sask., native was a fourth round pick four years ago and has been decent at the AHL level.

The Holtby vs Tim Thomas goaltending battle definitely makes Washington the underdog here, which we haven't seen for a few years. Maybe that helps because they certainly haven't had a lot of success as the favourites in the postseason.

The Caps will be the only team starting the playoffs with a goaltender who has never won a game there.



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About the Author
Hockey Reporter

James joined The Globe as an editor and reporter in the sports department in 2005 and now covers the NHL and the Toronto Maple Leafs. More

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