The Washington Capitals recalled goaltender Philipp Grubauer from the Hershey Bears on Thursday, again because Michal Neuvirth is sick.
Braden Holtby was skating and is still expected to start Thursday night against the Florida Panthers. Neither Neuvirth nor Grubauer was on the ice for the morning skate. Instead, video coach Brett Leonhardt served as the second goalie.
Neuvirth missed a chance to start Feb. 27 at the Philadelphia Flyers because of an illness. This time he just won’t serve as Holtby’s backup.
It remains to be seen if Neuvirth will be healthy enough to start Saturday at the New York Islanders. With the Caps playing the Islanders and New York Rangers back-to-back, Neuvirth figured to get one of those games.
Coach Adam Oates said the plan was to split the back-to-backs at Nassau County Veterans Memorial Coliseum and Verizon Center. Holtby will make his 11th straight start Thursday.
“There was a plan to split ‘em. I’d still like to split ‘em, whether it’s Grubauer or Neuvy,” Oates said. “I’m not so worried about it, but it’s a lot of hockey for him, back-to-backs especially. And you’ve got to get your other guy a game here and there.”
Holtby is 7-3 with a 2.24 goals-against average and .934 save percentage in 10 consecutive starts.
Neuvirth hasn’t played since exactly a month ago: Feb. 7, when he started at the Pittsburgh Penguins and gave up two goals on 11 shots.
Grubauer made his NHL debut in relief Feb. 27 in Philadelphia, stopping all 14 shots he faced.