Did Michal Neuvirth read everything? Did he hear everything? The Washington Capitals’ goalies – he and Tomas Vokoun – have been subjects of criticism, particularly this week, thanks to subpar performance.
So all he did was go out and shut out the Winnipeg Jets by making 26 saves in the Caps’ 1-0 win. Neuvirth was remarkable, especially in a 14-save first period and in fits and spurts late as the game was scoreless.
Neuvirth has admitted multiple times that he hasn’t been good enough this season. He hasn’t. But the 23-year-old’s confidence has not wavered.
“Every game seems like we’re having some tough luck,” he said Wednesday. “But I don’t want to make any excuses; we’ve just got to battle hard and I believe we can turn this around.”
One way to turn it all around for the Caps is to get good goaltending. Neuvirth did his part Thursday night in stonewalling a Jets team that had little trouble against him last month.
Meanwhile, Alex Ovechkin squeezed a shot through on Ondrej Pavelec, who had been stellar until giving up that soft goal with just 1:14 left. Teammates and coach Dale Hunter believed it was a matter of time until Ovechkin scored.
“He’s hitting the net, he’s creating chances,” linemate Nicklas Backstrom said.
He hit the net. Neuvirth kept the puck out of the net. If those things keep happening, a turnaround seems more and more believable.