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Caps take on Wild searching for consistency

I caught up with Coach Bruce Boudreau before tonight's game at the Xcel Energy Center, which is as nice of an arena as advertised. No changes are expected to the Capitals' lineup from the arrangement that defeated Carolina 3-0 Wednesday, as Boudreau sees what the group that put forth Washington's best overall effort thus far can do 24 hours later.

Chief among those players whose consistency he is looking for is that of goaltender Michal Neuvirth, who earned the chance to make his ninth start of the season with his shutout against the Hurricanes.

"He's never played a lot, a lot of games. He's played every playoff game in Hershey the last couple years but I want to see if he can do it in case he has to," said Boudreau, who added that he's not concerned about wearing the young goaltender out this early in the season. "Today's a big game for him because if all of a sudden the unthinkable happened and you have to pull him because it's 4-0 halfway through the first you'd think twice about playing him back to back later on."

Boudreau said he hasn't determined whether Neuvirth or Braden Holtby will start in Calgary Saturday night.

John Carlson and Karl Alzner were reunited as a defensive pair against the Hurricanes and Boudreau wants to see if their strong play as a unit was a one-night wonder or sustainable results. The decision to put them back together was one designed to make both of the young defensemen more comfortable, but now they will both play in a back-to-back contest with limited practice time this week; as Carlson took time off the ice for his leg injury and Alzner returned home to British Columbia following the death of his grandfather.

"Sometimes I think both of them are trying to do too much and trying to maybe play up to what other people believe in them, like their defense partners," Boudreau said. "When they play with each other they know each other, they're comfortable, they're on their forehands all night long it makes it easier for them. It's more of a comfortability issue....

"There's interesting things going on here, and we'll see if we can't keep it up but consistency is the key," Boudreau said. "If they can be consistent then we've found a really good pairing."

Lineups to come after warmup.

By Katie Carrera  | October 28, 2010; 7:24 PM ET
Categories:  John Carlson, Karl Alzner, Michal Neuvirth, Minnesota Wild  
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Next: Tonight's lineup: Caps at Wild

Comments

The two rookie blueliners playing well with each other. Why not, it's early in the season? Neuvy again. Why not, he's played very well when he was not about to puke? Go, Caps, go!

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | October 28, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

And this just in -- NJD likely to fire MacLean, which LouLom says is untrue. Yeah, right, LL is super quick on the trigger with coaches. Poor MacLean will be looking in the want ads soon. Wish I could be more sympathetic, but after that game with the Caps and all the gooning, I won't miss him.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | October 28, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

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