All season, and the past few days in particular, Coach Bruce Boudreau and the Capitals have had a lot of good things to say about goaltender Michal Neuvirth. The team never really imagined that they'd be relying primarily on one of their 22-year-old goaltenders so early in the season, but Neuvirth has been up to the task.
Boudreau acknowledged Thursday that he noticed Neuvirth looking a "little tired" early against the Maple Leafs but when the Capitals needed him to make a few big saves late in the third and in the shootout, once again, Neuvirth rose to the challenge.
"He's incredible," Mike Green said following the Caps' 5-4 shootout win over Toronto. "I don't want to pump him too much but he's been outstanding for us. As a defenseman I feel so comfortable with him behind us. There's already a mutual bond that we feel even though he's only been here a short period of time."
He was named the NHL's October Rookie of the Month, you can view the team's tribute that ran on the Jumbotron at Verizon Center earlier this week below, and after 11 starts owns a .920 save percentage and 2.31 goals-against average. They aren't especially gaudy numbers, but consistently through the first month and change of the season Neuvirth has come up big at crucial times for the Capitals.
So, we ask, are you surprised by Neuvirth's play? Sure there was no doubt of his talent when he helped lead Hershey to back-to-back Calder Cups but sustaining a high level of play through a tough stretch of games as the Capitals go-to netminder is a different story.
FROM THE POST
On the Capitals setting about solving the Bruins and goaltender Tim Thomas in the teams' third meeting of the season.
Brooks Laich has been nominated for Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year award.
AROUND THE WEB
Alexander Semin is off to a strong start. (Corey Masisak)
Mike Green made his weekly appearance on 106.7 The Fan Thursday, his clip is the fourth segment on this page. (audio)
Bruins analysts on NESN discuss the Capitals goaltenders. (video)
In Hershey, Francois Bouchard talks to Tim Leone about his brother, Pierre-Marc's recovery from concussion symptoms. (The Patriot News)