This was the second utterly forgettable performance by the Capitals in the past three contests so it only seemed fitting that the two games wound up with the same finish. But Monday's 5-0 loss to New Jersey featured the added drama of an injury to Michal Neuvirth, which prompted some goaltender shuffling.
Here's the rundown of the ripple effect with the goaltenders tonight:
--Neuvirth tweaked a lower body part this morning, is officially listed as day-to-day and "could probably play on Wednesday" in Carolina, Boudreau said. After this morning's skate, Neuvirth had a leg taped but he did take shots in the warmup skate. It wasn't until the pregame skate that Braden Holtby knew he was starting against the Devils.
With Neuvirth injured, the team recalled Semyon Varlamov from Hershey. While Varlamov arrived prior to the start of the game his skates did not, so for the first period Neuvirth served as the backup netminder.
Varlamov's skates got to Prudential Center in time for the second period and he switched places with Neuvirth on the bench, but Boudreau said the only way he was putting in another goaltender was if Holtby got hurt.
Washington asked for permission to switch goaltenders from the officials and informed the Devils of the situation before the game started.
"I don't know," Boudreau said when asked why the Capitals didn't call up a healthy Dany Sabourin instead of Varlamov, who has just recovered from a groin injury and played on back-to-back days in Hershey this weekend. "That's the decision we made. We didn't assume that Holtby was going to get hurt and Varly could have a real good practice with us tomorrow. From what I've gathered Neuvy is day to day and could probably play on Wednesday, but I mean if that was the case, then we might have sent Varly back to play another game. There's a lot of things going on in a quick amount of time."
--Also on the injury front, Mike Green did not play the final 12 minutes 50 seconds while Tyler Sloan left the game in the first period with 1:46 remaining and never returned. "They both got hurt during the game. We'll know more in the morning," Boudreau said.
--Boudreau was asked about whether he would hold Holtby or the defense more responsible for the wrap-around goals that the Devils' Jason Arnott scored.
"On the first one Sloan goes right over and sort of blocks Holtby from getting back," Boudreau said. "I mean and there's no reason for it. We had John Erskine and [Marcus] Johansson I think going after Arnott behind the net. There was no reason for Tyler to go there, and once he blocked Holtby out he couldn't get back in so it was a breakdown on his part.
"The other goal, watching it briefly, Holtby lost sight of it. He was looking in the other direction and with Arnott's long reach he put it in the middle of the net but Holtby was on the right side and I don't know if him or [Jeff] Schultz saw where the puck went."
--Along that same line, no one was willing to say that this loss and the five goals on 13 shots for the Devils, were solely Holtby's fault.
"A little bit," Karl Alzner said when asked if he felt the team let Holtby down. "The last couple games he's been in we've been not good at all in the first period and that's unfortunate for him. He's the guy you look at first when you get three goals scored against you so I would definitely like to see it for him. He's a young guy trying to prove himself just like me. It's really disappointing."
--With nothing working for Washington offensively, or really anywhere, Boudreau shook up the line combinations in the second period and move Alex Ovechkin alongside Marcus Johansson and Matt Bradley. It was a place where you don't usually see the captain often.
--The Capitals haven't had many practice days this month, but they will get the chance tomorrow afternoon with a 1 p.m. session scheduled at RBC Center in Raleigh. It could be a rather intense workout as Boudreau promised the media: "we'll make up for it tomorrow."