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Rust shouldn’t be a concern for Caps’ goalies

Jan 4, 2013, 9:03 PM EDT

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28: Braden Holtby #70 of the Washington Capitals reacts after giving up a goal in the second period of Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the New York Rangers during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on April 28, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) Getty Images

Inexperience (and maybe in-fighting) ranks as one of the concerns for the Washington Capitals goalie duo of Braden Holtby and Michal Neuvirth, but at least they shouldn’t be rusty.

New Capitals coach Adam Oates doesn’t make any guarantees, yet he provided positive feedback about duo’s work during the lockout to CSNWashington.com’s Chuck Gormley.

“Obviously, they’re going to be in game shape, so that has to be a good thing,” Oates said. “I don’t think there’s any perfect formula, but the fact both of those guys have been playing is good.”

Gormley reminds us that Holtby is considered the team’s No. 1 netminder going into next season.

Both are playing well enough to encourage optimism, however. Despite mediocre win-loss records, Holtby (.932 save percentage in the AHL) and Neuvirth (.927 save percentage in KHL) are looking sharp outside the NHL.

Will that translate to strong play in a potential abbreviated season? That’s unclear, but they’ll hit the ground running while many older goalies will experience a crash course to get ready.

(Many veterans struggled to find short-term work because there are fewer open netminder spots overseas than other positions and the AHL isn’t always an option.)

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