- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 31, 2013

PHILADELPHIA — Michal Neuvirth wasn’t feeling well a day after taking a puck to the mask in the Washington Capitals’ morning skate in Buffalo, so the team wasn’t going to take any chances with the goaltender.

The Caps recalled Philipp Grubauer to serve as Braden Holtby’s backup Sunday night at the Philadelphia Flyers, and the training staff will keep an eye on Neuvirth.

“We’re going to take precautions,” coach Adam Oates said Sunday morning. “He doesn’t feel great. The medical guys will handle what we’re supposed to do.”

Oates said it was “too soon to say” if Neuvirth suffered a concussion. He expected the goaltender to accompany the team to Raleigh, N.C., for its game Tuesday at the Carolina Hurricanes.

The 21-year-old Gruabuer was recalled using a goaltender roster exemption.

“[Neuvirth] is probably OK, but if something bad happens we don’t want to put him in the net if he’s not a hundred percent,” Oates said.

It was the third time this season that Neuvirth had something get in the way of a scheduled start. He was supposed to play Feb. 27 at the Flyers and March 9 at the New York Islanders but was sick each time.

Oates called Sunday a “bad break” for Neuvirth and the Caps. The 25-year-old Czech appeared in just three of Washington’s past 24 games, starting two.

Neuvirth is 2-5-1 with a 2.99 goals-against average and .899 save percentage in 10 appearances this season.

Injury updates

Veteran defenseman John Erskine could return from an upper-body injury as soon as Tuesday at the Hurricanes, Oates said. Erskine has missed the past 12 games.

The Caps would need to make a roster move to activate Erskine off injured reserve for the Carolina game.

Rookie defenseman Tomas Kundratek, activated off IR Saturday, is healthy and ready to go, according to Oates. But he did not play Sunday night as Oates cited balance for keeping Jeff Schultz and Steve Oleksy in the lineup.

Volpatti in, Wolski out

Sometimes, lineup decisions are based on the opponent. That was certainly the case when Oates opted for tough guy Aaron Volpatti over Wojtek Wolski against the Flyers.

“Philly’s a little bit more physical,” the Caps’ coach said. “Just to get a little more physical presence just in case.”

Philadelphia features agitator Zac Rinaldo and more than a few guys willing to drop the gloves. Wolski had zero points in two games after being a healthy scratch for the previous seven.

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