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Capitals goalie Neuvirth scratched from start

by Adam Vingan

WASHINGTON -- Washington Capitals goaltender Michal Neuvirth sustained a lower-body injury during warm-ups Friday and did not start against the Montreal Canadiens as expected.

Neuvirth had to be helped down the tunnel toward the locker room. He left practice earlier this week with what was also described as a lower-body injury, but according to the team his latest injury is unrelated.

Braden Holtby started in Neuvirth's place, with video coach Brett Leonhardt serving as Holtby's emergency backup. Leonhardt, who was a goalie at Neumann College, a Division III school near Philadelphia, also filled that role for a game in December 2008.

Leonhardt signed a player tryout contract and wore No. 80 while sitting on the Capitals bench for the first period against the Ottawa Senators in a game Dec. 12, 2008, at Verizon Center. Leonhardt was a Web producer for the team at the time and had practiced a few times when one of the regular goalies needed a day off.

Semyon Varlamov arrived from Hershey of the American Hockey League during the first period and replaced Leonhardt as the backup for the remainder of that game. Leonhardt had left the Capitals organization for a job in the NHL hockey operations department but returned to the franchise as video coach before the start of the 2012-13 season.

Leonhardt wore No. 35 Friday for the Capitals against the Canadiens.

Neuvirth, who played every minute for the Capitals in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs but has watched Holtby start every game in the past two postseasons, has started five of the 26 games. Holtby entered Friday with a 10-8-1 record, a .922 save percentage and a 2.73 goals-against average.

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