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Posted at 12:27 PM ET, 03/16/2011

Line change: Should Michal Neuvirth be the playoff starter?

Michal Neuvirth will finally get to start in net again tonight at Joe Louis Arena, reports the Capitals’ Mike Vogel.The 22-year-old netminder has watched from the bench the last five games — while expressing his desire to get back between the pipes — as Braden Holtby has gone undefeated.

Tonight’s game against the Red Wings marks Neuvirth’s first appearance since he was forced to leave a March 7 game against Tampa Bay when a shot hit his mask and a metal shard from the screw holding the cage in place flew into his eye. Prior to that contest, however, he started six consecutive games, going 5-1-0 during that stretch with a .930 save percentage.

Tarik El-Bashir wrote in his most recent column that if Coach Bruce Boudreau is planning to name Neuvirth the playoff starter over Holtby or the injured Semyon Varlamov, he’d better do it soon before it does some damage to the young Czech’s confidence.

Boudreau, though, insists he hasn’t made a decision yet.

Boudreau says next six or seven games will be key in deciding which goaltender gets the net for Game 1 of the ECQF series next month. #Capsless than a minute ago via txt

Do you think the Capitals should wait several more games before solidifying a No. 1 netminder? Should Varlamov not return from a knee injury in time for the playoffs, who would you choose? Vote below and use the comments section to let us know your thoughts on the ever-evolving battle in goal.

Additional notes from Detroit
Neither John Erskine nor Eric Fehr will play tonight, according to Mike Vogel. Erskine was scratched against the Canadiens because of a cold, a team spokesman said, and Fehr was forced to leave the game in Montreal after suffering an upper-body injury.

Their absences mean that Tyler Sloan and D.J. King will both be in the lineup tonight.

By Washington Post Sports Editors  |  12:27 PM ET, 03/16/2011

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