Bruce Boudreau on starting Michal Neuvirth, managing goaltenders' workloads
Michal Neuvirth will get the start tonight at 7:30 p.m. against the Florida Panthers in what may be a more important game for the Capitals than simply meets the eye. With Tampa Bay inactive tonight and waiting for Washington arrive on Wednesday, the Capitals could take a one-point edge on the Southeast Division lead heading into that showdown at the St. Pete Times Forum.
This set of back-to-back contests provided the perfect opportunity for Coach Bruce Boudreau to get Neuvirth back in net for the first time since Dec. 23 against Pittsburgh. Boudreau indicated that he plans on starting Semyon Varlamov, who is 4-0-1 in his past five starts, against Tampa Bay as he continues to try to manage the young goaltenders' workloads during their first full NHL seasons.
Neuvirth and Varlamov's youth, with only 47 regular-season games in the NHL each, is "why I don't want either one of them to start playing 10 or 12 games in a row," Boudreau said. "Because we've seen what's happened, more to Varly than Neuvy, when he's played long stretches of games in a row he gets tired and you can see trends of when he's letting soft goals go in. That hasn't happened yet, so we want to keep him fresh and ready to play" Wednesday.
That said, Boudreau had scheduled to start Neuvirth last week but the twinge in the goaltender's groin and when he was hit in the face by a stick in practice prevented it from occurring as planned.
"He wants to get in," Boudreau said. "He's perfectly healthy; he had a good practice [Monday]. He started this whole thing for us with the win in Ottawa, so he's going to get a chance. We need him to play well."
In three career appearances against the Panthers, Neuvirth is 1-0 with a 3.24 goals-against average and .896 save percentage.
| January 11, 2011; 12:37 PM ET
Categories: Michal Neuvirth, Semyon Varlamov
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