Caps head coach Adam Oates has confirmed that Michal Neuvirth will get the start in goal when Washington hosts Montreal on Thursday night.
The news comes less than 24 hours after Braden Holtby suffered his second straight loss to begin the season — a 4-2 defeat to Winnipeg.
Through the two games, Holtby has posted a 5.04 GAA and .863 save percentage, allowing 10 goals on 73 shots.
Following the Jets game, Holtby told the Washington Post he wasn’t happy with his start to the season and felt he should’ve stopped Andrew Ladd’s first-period goal:
“Whenever you let in 10 goals in two games, obviously it’s not good, but at the same time, I feel fine,” he explained. “When you break down the goals, they’re not trends or overly bad goals, other than the second one tonight, I felt. . . . I’m trying to get adapted to everything, and I want to keep improving and getting better and learning from these two games.”
Neuvirth hasn’t played this year and will make his season debut on Thursday, and rust could be a factor
While he did play 24 games during the lockout for HC Sparta Praha of the Czech Extraliga — posting a 2.51 GAA and .925 save percentage — he hasn’t faced game action since early January.
“I feel cold, but, you know, this is job I pick and I gotta handle it. I’m trying to stay positive and happy,” Neuvirth told the Washington Times. “I felt good during the practice today and I’m ready to go.”