Capitals' Braden Holtby returns to practice, expects to play vs. Blues

Jan. 13 (UPI) — Washington goalie Braden Holtby returned to practice after he sustained an eye injury in the Capitals’ previous game.

Sources confirmed to and NBC Sports that Holtby practiced on Sunday. Holtby was knocked out of Saturday’s 2-1 overtime loss against Columbus when he took a high stick from Blue Jackets forward Cam Atkinson.

Atkinson’s stick wedged between the bars of Holtby’s mask and hit him in the eye. He didn’t return to the contest.

“Anything with your eyes is a little scary,” Holtby told reporters after the game. “It’s fortunate that it wasn’t anything too serious. … I didn’t have the sight to keep going so I just wouldn’t have been a benefit to the team. Eyes heal quickly, so in 24 hours I’ll be back to normal.”

Holtby expects to be ready for the team’s upcoming game against the St. Louis Blues on Monday at Capital One Arena.

“We’re going to see how it is tomorrow still just with the sweat and all that,” Capitals head coach Todd Reirden told the team’s official website. “It’s going to be reevaluated right now, so [Sunday] was a step in the process.”

Holtby has a 17-10-2 record with a 2.85 goals-against average, .912 save percentage and two shutouts in 31 games this season. He won the 2016 Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goaltender and was selected to the 2019 All-Star Game with teammate John Carlson.

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