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Neuvirth to start for Washington vs. Montreal on Thursday

Jan 23, 2013, 12:39 PM EDT

Caps head coach Adam Oates has confirmed that Michal Neuvirth will get the start in goal when Washington hosts Montreal on Thursday night.

The news comes less than 24 hours after Braden Holtby suffered his second straight loss to begin the season — a 4-2 defeat to Winnipeg.

Through the two games, Holtby has posted a 5.04 GAA and .863 save percentage, allowing 10 goals on 73 shots.

Following the Jets game, Holtby told the Washington Post he wasn’t happy with his start to the season and felt he should’ve stopped Andrew Ladd‘s first-period goal:

“Whenever you let in 10 goals in two games, obviously it’s not good, but at the same time, I feel fine,” he explained. “When you break down the goals, they’re not trends or overly bad goals, other than the second one tonight, I felt. . . . I’m trying to get adapted to everything, and I want to keep improving and getting better and learning from these two games.”

Neuvirth hasn’t played this year and will make his season debut on Thursday, and rust could be a factor

While he did play 24 games during the lockout for HC Sparta Praha of the Czech Extraliga — posting a 2.51 GAA and .925 save percentage — he hasn’t faced game action since early January.

“I feel cold, but, you know, this is job I pick and I gotta handle it. I’m trying to stay positive and happy,” Neuvirth told the Washington Times. “I felt good during the practice today and I’m ready to go.”

  1. hockeysox161 - Jan 23, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    About time. Holtby looked awful. I saw him play for Hershey during the lockout and he was nearly just as bad. I think he came into this season overrated and it’s now catching up with him. Neuvi is more experienced, so maybe that’s what the Caps need right now going forth.

    • dcfan4life - Jan 23, 2013 at 4:25 PM

      Of the 10 goals, none of them were soft. And only 2 or 3 of them would have been stopped had Holtby been masterful, which is asking a lot. The rest were deflections, odd man rushes, open netters, and otherwise sure thing goals. Neuvirth is capable of being top notch, but with the pathetic excuse for a Capitals defense so far this season, i dont expect him to fare that much better. Besides, had Holtby won both games Neuvirth may have started one of the next 2 anyways, behing back to back and all.

      • rsl22 - Jan 23, 2013 at 6:22 PM

        Masterful to stop 2-3 more? Come on, the dude has let in 10 goals on 73 shots. There’s a lot of love for the guy after the last postseason, but he has looked awful. He has given up terrible rebounds, he can’t catch, and he’s shaky playing the puck.

        Of the 43 goals to play so far, he’s ranked 39th in GAA and 36th in Save %. You can’t blame the defense for all of that.

        Plus, five goals given up on the penalty kill….any coach will tell you that your best penalty killer needs to be the goalie….and he has S’d.

      • dcfan4life - Jan 23, 2013 at 9:56 PM

        Clearly you havent watched the games. If Holtby played to what i think he is capable of playing, he lets in 8 goals instead of 10. I mean lets take the last game for example. First goal is off a defenders skate, no chance. Second goal is a sharp shot upper net from a wide open cutting player on a power play down the middle, savable but not easy by any means. Third goal is an open net on a great pass on a 3 on 1, no chance. Fourth goal is a last second deflection, no chance. All 4 of those goals could have been prevented by better defense, but to blame Holtby for those goals, under that circumstances, is unfair. The first game was pretty much the same…

  2. misterchainbluelightning - Jan 23, 2013 at 1:17 PM

    Caps are not making the playoffs, Oates and his new system will take too long for them to learn and play well within it. Ovy is playing a new position and making mistakes doing it. And Backstrom is a HORRID all around player right now. He’s the most over-rated “star” in the league. He can pass the puck and nothing else, he is a defensive nightmare. You would be a better team without him than with him atm.

    • misterchainbluelightning - Jan 23, 2013 at 2:00 PM

      There’s 4 people that did not watch last night game, or can’t handle the truth. Sooooooo I guess yas never noticed that Backstrom failing to cover his man, treating his defensive responsibilities as if he and a few friend rented the ice for some shinny and a few beers. His lack of play resulted in 2 specific goals. I mean he just outright refused to put a stick or shoulder or ANY type of presence or pressure on both his men that scored seconds later. And this isn’t the 1st time he’s played like he did last night. It’s a MAJOR problem that needs to be fixed, again, the way he played last night, is going cost the team wins more than his passing gets wins.

      He deserves a healthy scratch if he pulls the weak crap he pulled last night. This is not exhibition, or shinny, it’s not the good time guys beer league, the games count. He was the Delmon Young of hockey last night. It’s been a long time since I seen someone some useless and disinterested in defence as what I saw last night. And as a center, it’s a team killer.

      • prosportswashington - Jan 23, 2013 at 2:45 PM

        Wow calm down everyone, its two games into a season with a new coach and a blueline full of players who didn’t sign with other hockey clubs during the lockout and so havent played in a while. Give it time

      • ibieiniid - Jan 23, 2013 at 3:20 PM

        to me, it seems the extent of your knowledge of the Capitals is limited to what they did “last night.”

        you’re wrong about Backstrom overall but a bit more correct based on the FIRST 2 GAMES OF THE SEASON AFTER 8+ MONTHS OFF.

      • dcfan4life - Jan 23, 2013 at 4:30 PM

        Backstrom once blocked like 5 shots in one power play without a stick last season. Dont tell me he is a horrid defender. He is however confused. As are most of the Caps. Who has which man and such. Thats to be expected when implementing a brand new system and having virtually no time to try it and make corrections. It be just as shocking if they dominated the first too games as it is them losing them both.

      • misterchainbluelightning - Jan 23, 2013 at 4:58 PM

        Oh wow 5 blocked shots is a period? So that means he blocked 20 shots in the 41 plus games last year, since he only had 25 on the season.

        And who said blocking shots makes up for being as useless without the puck as the Sedins twins or Phil Kessel? He blocks a few shots and that makes him solid?
        No, he’s a horrid defender right now, at least one of the twins and Kessel play on the wing where their weakness doesn’t hurt as badly as it does having a center who doesn’t give the opposing center anything to deal with while in his defensive zone.

      • dcfan4life - Jan 23, 2013 at 9:59 PM

        Ok you squeeked in “right now” in your last comment. The entire Caps team defense is horrible “right now”. But Backstrohm is not a bad defender. He isnt a shot blocker either. Im referring to once example in a key power play when he lost his stick and he had no choice and did an amazing job blocking all those shots. There are many other examples. Dont base a guys career as a defender on the way the team looks now. They all look bad, out of sync. And thats understandable considering the circumstances.

    • rfoster75 - Jan 23, 2013 at 6:49 PM

      the season is half over…dial it in…What a joke.

      • misterchainbluelightning - Jan 23, 2013 at 6:57 PM

        Not as much of a joke when compared to Backstrom and the Caps play so far.

  3. bethgoesglobal - Jan 23, 2013 at 2:00 PM

    I think this was expected. I hope Neuvy looks good. I think he has something to prove having lost the top spot when the Caps hired Vokoun last summer and then again this summer due to Holtby’s exceptional play in the post-season. He may be rusty but I’m confident that he Really wants to grab that spot back this year.
    I think the performance of these goalie’s in the coming weeks will likely to dictate were they’ll be in the 2013-14 season.

    • ibieiniid - Jan 23, 2013 at 3:22 PM

      right now, Neuvy is def a better goalie. but by the end of their careers, I think Holtby will have made a bigger mark on the league.

  4. husky2score - Jan 23, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    While Holtby does deserve to take some blame, let me just point out that the Caps PK absolutely sucked. I have no idea what happened there, but if I’m Oates, I spend most of practice on PK.

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