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Neuvirth out for Caps; Vokoun to start vs. Pens

by Corey Masisak
PITTSBURGH -- Tomas Vokoun will start in net Thursday night for the Washington Capitals against the Pittsburgh Penguins, while Michal Neuvirth did not make the trip.

Neuvirth did not practice Wednesday with the team at Kettler Capitals Iceplex due to what coach Bruce Boudreau called a lower-body injury. The team called up Braden Holtby to back up Vokoun against the Penguins.

"Our take is if he's not ready to back up in case he's needed, there's no sense bringing him," Boudreau said. "We'll see [Friday], and hopefully he'll be on the ice with us [Friday]."

Neuvirth started the opening game of the season for Washington despite the team adding Vokoun in the offseason and Boudreau calling the veteran his No. 1 goaltender. Vokoun was in net for the second game, a 6-5 victory against Tampa Bay that the goalie himself called a bad performance.

Boudreau was coy about who would have started against the Penguins had both goalies been available, but Vokoun gets a chance to play right away after a sub-par effort in his Washington debut.

"I've watched a lot of goalies in the past and whether they're having good games or bad games when a goal is scored they just take the water bottle and take a drink," Boudreau said. "I think that's like water off a duck's back -- the game's over, let's get on to the next game. I don't think he's thinking about the last game."

Vokoun told reporters after practice Wednesday: "As a goalie, in a sense, you've got to have a short memory. What happened [Tuesday], it's done -- you can't do anything about it. Today is brand-new day. No matter if we win that game 1-0 and I got a shutout or I had a bad game, next game it starts 0-0. Nothing changes. You're only as good as your last game. For me, it's just another stepping stone. Obviously, I'm glad we won the game; it made it so much easier for me to recoup from a performance like that. That's pretty much where I stand right now."
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