VANCOUVER | Michal Neuvirth said he’d be ready when Bruce Boudreau called on him. Saturday night that time came at the start of the second period.
The 23-year-old goaltender replaced Tomas Vokoun at the start of the second after the veteran allowed three goals on 17 shots to the Canucks. The Capitals were trailing 3-1 at the time and went on to lose 7-4.
Boudreau was asked simply to share his thoughts on why he pulled Vokoun.
“My thoughts were I just didn’t think Tomas was very sharp,” the Caps’ coach said. “He played eight games in a row at a very high level. I thought the first and third goals weren’t very good, and I thought this was as good time as any and Neuvy was sharp in practice – this was as good a time as any to get him involved in the game again.”
This was Vokoun’s eighth straight start. It was the first time in 17 starts Vokoun was yanked from a game. The last time came March 3 when, as a member of the Florida Panthers, he allowed two goals on the first three shots.
Vokoun, when told of Boudreau’s comments, disagreed. His full, unedited answer:
“You know what, actually I felt pretty good, honestly. I definitely made a mistake on the first goal. The second goal, there’s not much I can do. I stopped the first shot and then the puck go right back to the guy. I was already down and he just roofs it top shelf. Third goal I never saw the shot. For whatever reason, you’re trying to find it. But our guy was trying to block it and it went right by him. I just heard kind of sound like the post, but it went in. I really never saw the shot. You know what, he’s got a better view of it than me and I’m playing, so I can’t really see myself. Internally I didn’t feel bad. Obviously it was 3-1, so coach made a change. That’s his decision.”
Neuvirth was not made available to reporters afterward.