Over the past three seasons, the 25-year-old has received opportunities to stake his claim to the starting position, only for an unforeseen incident to derail him.
The latest such incident came Thursday when Neuvirth was scheduled to make his fourth straight start against the Winnipeg Jets, his longest streak since starting five straight between Jan. 24-31, 2013. But he fell ill before the game and in his place Braden Holtby made 34 saves in Washington's 4-2 victory.
As a result, Holtby will start on Saturday against the New Jersey Devils. And with that, Neuvirth, who has started 53 games since the start of the 2011-12 season after starting 45 in 2010-11, seems to be back to square one.
"That's hockey," Neuvirth said. "People get hurt, people get sick and I really wanted to play, but I didn't feel good and I felt like I couldn't give my team 100 percent effort."