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Posted at 01:37 PM ET, 12/23/2011

Friday’s lineup: Neuvirth vs. Brodeur

As expected, Capitals goalie Michal Neuvirth will get his fourth consecutive start tonight in Newark, where he’ll face veteran Martin Brodeur in matchup of surging teams looking to keep climbing in the standings.

Here’s how the Caps lined up during the morning skate:

Forwards

Johansson-Backstrom-Semin

Ovechkin-Laich-Brouwer

Chimera-Halpern-Ward

Hendricks-Perreault-Knuble

Defense

Alzner-Carlson

Hamrlik-Wideman

Erskine-Orlov.

As for the rest of Washington’s lineup, the only change appears to be defenseman Jeff Schultz talking a seat. Schultz returned to the lineup Tuesday after four games as a healthy scratch, but played just 6:01 in the 4-1 win over Nashville.

Some other notes and observations from the morning skate:

●Mike Green (groin) made the trip and took some line rushes. But, to my eyes, he still looked to be a ways off from returning to the lineup. The smooth-skating defenseman has missed 24 of the past 25 games because of injuries.

●Toward the end of the skate, the players had some fun taking penalty shots on Tomas Vokoun. Brooks Laich had the prettiest move (hint: you’ve seen it before) while Joel Ward had the funniest celebration.

After scoring, he removed his glove, threw back his head and pretended to chug (a Gatorade?) from the glove.

●Devils Coach Peter DeBoer on Martin Brodeur, who, as I mentioned in a previous post, has struggled mightily this season: “He cares about his game and is willing to put in extra work when things aren’t going right. It turns around for guys like that. It might not turn around that day or the next day. But if you consistently do that, you reap the rewards.”

After missing six games in October because of a shoulder injury, Brodeur, long known as a 70-plus game workhorse, hasn’t been used in back-to-back situations and has yielded the net more often than past seasons. That, the 39-year-old said, has made it tough to get into a rhythm.

“Mentally it’s different,” he said. “It’s been harder than I thought. I thought it would be easy to take a break and get more rest. But it’s been tricky for me. Before it was games, games, games. Now practice becomes games for me.”

Check back in a bit for DeBoer’s recollections of facing Dale Hunter in juniors.

By  |  01:37 PM ET, 12/23/2011

 
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