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With latest loss, Holtby can only tie Brodeur's record

Rick Osentoski / USA TODAY Sports

Not long ago, the thought of Braden Holtby eclipsing Martin Brodeur's record for wins in a season was all but a certainty. Now, though, after the Capitals lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night, the best Holtby can do is tie.

Holtby is stuck at 47 wins - one shy of Brodeur's record-setting mark - with two Capitals games remaining on back-to-back nights. Head coach Barry Trotz has no intention of risking an injury for an individual accolade, so backup Philipp Grubauer will earn one of the starts.

"Absolutely not. They'll split them," Trotz said when asked if he would change his plan for the netminders.

"We've lost two games in overtime and he could have had the record," the head coach added. "And we had two cracks at it and we didn't get it for him."

Holtby, however, was more concerned with his team's effort against the surging Penguins, who topped the Caps 4-3 in overtime.

"The work ethic wasn't there, the execution, nothing was," Holtby said. "I don't even know how we were brought back to overtime."

Washington has lost five-of-seven, and three consecutive for the first time all season, which isn't good enough for Holtby and the Capitals, who have high expectations for the playoffs.

"It was a big challenge tonight going against the hottest team in the league and hopefully we realize that we're a lot better team than that," the netminder said. "We need to work. Things don't come easy in this league."

Things don't get any easier for the Capitals or Holtby's quest for win No. 48, as Washington travels to St. Louis on Saturday, and will host the Anaheim Ducks to close out the season Sunday night.

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