Michal Neuvirth a no-brainer to start for Caps at Senators

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Michal Neuvirth will start in goal for the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night at the Ottawa Senators. Given the way he played, especially in the past two games, it wasn’t a hard decision for coach Adam Oates.

Against the New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres, Neuvirth had a 2.40 goals-against average and .915 save percentage. He even played well in the previous game, a loss to the Montreal Canadiens.

“The first game his mistakes were more away from the goals, in my opinion,” goaltending coach Dave Prior said. “Second game I couldn’t ask for a better game. I couldn’t fault him on any of the goals. The third game [Sunday], as what it should be like when your team plays well in front of you, you’re not called upon to play as big a role in contributing to the win. He did his part when he was called upon and did it well.”

Neuvirth earned a fourth straight start based on those performances. Oates said he hadn’t even looked at the 24-year-old’s career numbers against Ottawa: 4-0-0 with a 1.55 goals-against average and .945 save percentage.

Oates said he’ll look at goalies’ splits against certain opponents based on the situation. The situation now is that Neuvirth is the hot hand over Braden Holtby.

“I mean, right now, yeah,” Oates said. “Hopefully you get the luxury of maybe strategizing it a little different. But right now [Neuvirth is] playing very well. And he’s getting rest so it’s not like we’re killing him right now. So he’s good.”

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