BUFFALO, N.Y. | Michal Neuvirth gets the nod again for the Washington Capitals at the Buffalo Sabres on Monday night, his fifth straight start.
He allowed three goals in a shootout loss Friday night at the New Jersey Devils but played well. Coach Dale Hunter has preached that it’s a game-by-game measuring stick for the goaltenders and seemed to follow that this time.
“Right now it’s just one of those things that’s a gut feeling, and Michal’s been playing well,” Hunter said after Monday’s morning skate at First Niagara Center. “He’s got a couple days’ rest, so he should be fresh again.”
Tomas Vokoun has not played since giving up four goals on 21 shots in two periods of action Dec. 13 against the Philadelphia Flyers. He’s at a loss to explain why he hasn’t been in a game since.
“I can’t really tell you. I don’t know what I did wrong to be in this spot,” Vokoun said. “I’m a professional hockey player and I don’t make decisions who plays, who doesn’t. That’s not question for me. All I can answer is where I play, how I play and how I felt I did out there and stuff like that. That’s pretty much all I can tell you about.”
Neuvirth has played well since replacing Vokoun against the Flyers. In his past four starts, the 23-year-old has a .941 save percentage.
As for Vokoun’s extended time off, Hunter appeared unconcerned about the possibility of the 35-year-old getting rusty.
“Tomas, he’s a veteran guy and he gets ready in practice for games,” Hunter said. “He plays practice like they are games out there because he tries so hard and bear[s] down. He’ll be game-ready when he’s needed.”