Boudreau sticking with Neuvirth

Tuesday, 05.03.2011 / 1:23 PM

By Corey Masisak - Staff Writer / 2011 ECSF: Washington-Tampa Bay Live Blog

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2011 ECSF: Washington-Tampa Bay Live Blog
Boudreau sticking with Neuvirth
Bruce Boudreau has switched goaltenders the past two postseasons when his team has fallen behind early in the first round. This year his Washington Capitals are down 2-0 to Tampa Bay in the second round, but he is sticking with Michal Neuvirth.

"Nope," Boudreau said when asked if he was contemplating a change in goal. "We're very comfortable with him. You look at the goals that have been scored -- they're not much he can do about them."

Neuvirth was fantastic in the first round, allowing only 8 goals in the five-game series victory against the New York Rangers, finishing with a .946 save percentage. He has allowed 3 goals on 23 shots in each of the first two games of this series (an .870 save percentage).

Two of the 6 goals have gone off one of his teammates in front of the net and in. Two have been power-play goals -- one a blistering one-timer from Vinny Lecavalier and one a rebound from a relatively unmarked Steven Stamkos. Lecavalier was all alone at Neuvirth's crease for the overtime winner in Game 2.

Given how many odd-man rushes and quality chances the Lightning have been able to create and how few the Rangers had, it isn't a stretch to say Neuvirth has played as well this series despite the inferior numbers.

"There's no reason to take [Neuvirth] out right now," Matt Bradley said. "He hasn't been our problem. Most of the goals have been fluky goals off skates that he had no chance on anyway. We have full confidence in [Neuvirth] and we're glad to see him back in there. It is a matter of us giving him a little more help and getting some goals."

Boudreau pulled Jose Theodore for Semyon Varlamov before Game 2 in 2009 and during Game 2 in 2010 when he team was falling behind the Rangers and the Montreal Canadiens. Varlamov would be the guy Boudreau goes to if he were to make a switch, but his comments make it appear Neuvirth's place in net is safe at this point.

"That has even crossed my mind I don't think," Karl Alzner said. "Everybody thinks [Neuvirth] has been playing really well for us. There have been times where there has been things he can't control out there -- bounces and stuff. I think he's been playing great. He's helping the D out a lot. He's stopping pucks. He's moving them to us. Like I said -- that wasn't even a question in my mind before."
Quote of the Day

For six months, it's a really good accomplishment. But as soon as April [11, the end of the regular season] comes around, no one thinks about the regular season anymore. For six months, it's a real battle to get into the playoffs in the NHL these days. There are a lot of good teams, and it takes consistency over a long time.

— Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau on clinching a playoff berth after a win against the Islanders on Saturday
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