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Flyers' Neuvirth: 'I'll be ready' for Game 4

Goalie will make first appearance since April 10 with Philadelphia facing elimination against Capitals

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / Deputy Managing Editor

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Goalie Michal Neuvirth will start for the Philadelphia Flyers against the Washington Capitals in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports, CSN-PH, CSN-DC).

The Flyers trail the best-of-7 series 3-0. 

"I feel pretty good," Neuvirth said after the morning skate at Flyers Skate Zone. "I feel good about my game. Definitely going to play with confidence. I've been practicing well and I'll be ready."

Steve Mason started the first three games but has an .852 save percentage. Part of that is because of the eight power-play goals the Flyers have allowed; Mason's save percentage against the Capitals' power play is .714. At 5-on-5 his save percentage is .922.

"It's not a negative to [Mason]," coach Dave Hakstol said. "It's about winning Game 4, pure and simple. 

"I think it's a good time for a change for our team going into this game. And I believe [Neuvirth] is a guy that can go in for us in this situation and do a great job."

Neuvirth started the Flyers' regular-season finale against the New York Islanders on April 10, when he made 15 saves in a 5-2 victory. It was his first game since he sustained a lower-body injury against the Chicago Blackhawks on March 16. 

Practice time can't replicate game speed, but Neuvirth said he feels healthy and confident. 

Video: PHI@CHI: Neuvirth keeps the game tied at 2

"You can't really plan for it, how the game is going to go," Neuvirth said. "For me, I'm just going to focus on the next shot, the next minute. Just going to go shift by shift and we'll see what happens."

Flyers right wing Jakub Voracek has known Neuvirth since their youth hockey days in the Czech Republic, and said he has no doubt how Neuvirth will play. 

"I played with [Neuvirth] when he was young," he said. "He's been special since he was a kid. He always was pretty clutch. I'm sure he'll be fine tonight." 

In 32 regular-season games, Neuvirth was 18-8-4 with a 2.27 goals-against average. His .924 save percentage was fifth among goalies to play at least 20 games.

The players feel a lack of offense is the reason for their series deficit. In three games they have two goals and are 0-for-13 on the power play. Neuvirth might not be able to change the offense, but sometimes change for the sake of change can help. 

Video: Caps net five power-play goals, take 3-0 series lead

"I think both [goalies] have played great," defenseman Nick Schultz said. "They're the reason we're here. We've had unbelievable goaltending all season long [but] we're down 3-0 in the series. It's natural. You see it in other series. Detroit, they have two goalies that have played well for them. See it with Anaheim too. You look for a spark. But it's on us to go out and play. 

"It's the same thing in a game, where maybe a couple goals go in and it's not the goalie's fault and the coach makes a change to get guys going, a kick in the [rear] to get you going. We have to be better and we have to be better in a lot of areas. And it comes down to everybody doing a better job."

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