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Neuvirth throws Caps goalie situation into flux

by Patrick Williams /
WINNIPEG – It is far too early to call the Washington Capitals' goaltending situation a controversy.

But the Capitals certainly do have a goaltending competition going on between veteran Tomas Vokoun and his understudy and fellow Czech, Michal Neuvirth.

Neuvirth played his 12th game of the season on Thursday night against Winnipeg and shut down a Jets team that had established an offensive presence on home ice over the past month. In Neuvirth's last appearance at the MTS Centre four weeks earlier, the Jets had pinned four goals on the goalie on 31 shots.

Michal Neuvirth
Goalie - WSH
RECORD: 4-5-1
GAA: 3.38 | SVP: 0.885
Neuvirth's 26-save evening against the Jets on Thursday came two nights after he relieved Vokoun in a 5-1 home loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. Neuvirth stopped 11 of 12 Philadelphia shots after the Flyers shredded Vokoun for four on 21 shots over the first two periods. Too many outings like that one have placed Vokoun – acquired from Florida as a key element of Washington's offseason makeover – under significant fire.

Neuvirth's numbers remain pedestrian – 4-5-1 with a 3.38 goals-against average – but if the 23-year-old could find his game on a consistent basis and push Vokoun, it could go a long way toward giving the Capitals a solid one-two goaltending punch. Vokoun, 35, is the clear No. 1 for foreseeable future, but Neuvirth has won two of his three December starts for the Capitals.

For his part, though, Neuvirth wanted no part of a discussion on the Washington goaltending situation after his performance against the Jets.

"I didn't even know," Neuvirth replied when asked whether he was aware of any potential goaltending controversy. "I don't follow the media."
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