Michal Neuvirth found out following Saturday’s game in Boston that he would be starting Sunday back home against the Toronto Maple Leafs. A creature of routine like most goaltenders, Neuvirth needed as much help as he could get without the usual preparation this weekend.
“Obviously I feel rusty,” Neuvirth said after shutting out Toronto Sunday. “I didn’t skate yesterday, didn’t skate this morning. But in the warm-up I did a little bit extra than usually.”
Neuvirth only had to make 23 saves against the Maple Leafs as his Washington Capitals teammates did a good job limiting chances and keeping shots to the outside. Toronto was missing All-Star Joffrey Lupul, which made an already anemic offense even more so, but the 23-year-old goalie credited players in front of him for his easy afternoon.
“I got to give credit to my teammates. They did outstanding job. It wasn’t hard game for me,” Neuvirth said. “My teammates did outstanding jobs and whole group work hard.”
Of course Neuvirth had to be there, too. For much of the game the Caps were clinging to a one-goal lead and one fluke or slip-up in net could have changed the course of the game, and, at this point, the season.
Neuvirth picked up his third shutout of the season, but the Caps also blocked 21 shots in front of him.
“It was a team effort,” coach Dale Hunter said. “It was blocking shots and sacrificing and We got a shutout because of it. When they did get through, Neuvy stood tall.”
Much like Tomas Vokoun did Saturday at the Bruins. So, who starts Tuesday at the New York Islanders? It’s a good problem for Hunter and the Caps to have, and something delved into in more detail in Tuesday’s Washington Times.