Wasington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby had one of the biggest saves in Capitals history, tying the Stanley Cup Final at one game apiece between the Caps and Golden Knights on Wednesday in Las Vegas.
It came with Washington holding on to a 3–2 lead and Vegas pressing with just over two minutes left in the game. Holtby slid across his crease to thwart forward Alex Tuch, who was staring into an open net only to see his shot knocked down by the paddle of Holtby’s stick.
It was hard not to be in awe of it.
Former Capitals goalie Olie Kolzig, the last netminder to backstop the team to the Cup Final, praised the goal on Twitter, calling it the "greatest save" he'd ever seen.
He wasn't the only one. Holtby's Washington teammates sung his praises after the win. Captain Alex Ovechkin was unable to watch the last few minutes of the game, burying his face in his gloves while his goalie saved the team's bacon.
"Thank god we have that guy in the net," Ovechkin told Sportsnet's Scott Oake. "In a big moment, he’s always over there. That was huge."
Forward Lars Eller, who notched three points in the win, was almost dumbfounded. Eller missed on a similar chance to tie Game 1, but was unable to finish.
"It shouldn’t be possible," he said to NBC Sports' Brian Boucher. "It would have been hard to go out having them tie the game on a weird bounce off the end boards that comes out of nowhere that you feel like they didn’t deserve, then a guy has an empty netter and Holts comes up big. Two days ago it was me, I had an empty net and someone got in the way of me, so I guess that evens the score."
For coach Barry Trotz, Holtby's save was a little bit of Game 1 payback from the deities.
"To me, it was the hockey gods, they evened it up from last game," Trotz said. "We could have tied it up, but we didn’t. You play the right way, the hockey gods even it out. It was a great save. You could see the emotion on our bench. Once he made that save, I knew we were gonna with that game."
For his part, the Washington goalie was relatively casual when as asked about the monumental stop.
"A couple of bounces didn’t quite go our way last game," he said. "We knew if we stuck with it, did the right things, something would go right for us this game. That’s one of those things."
Holtby finished the night with 37 saves, the second-highest total in a regulation Stanley Cup Final road win.
According to ESPN, this is just the third Stanley Cup Final to be tied at 1–1 since the 2005 lockout. The Capitals host the Golden Knights on Saturday for Game 3.