Neuvirth will start vs. Toronto, Ovechkin talks about scoring woes


(Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

 

As many suspected after Braden Holtby allowed six goals against the Pittsburgh Penguins Sunday afternoon, Capitals Coach Adam Oates will go with Michal Neuvirth in net Tuesday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

When Washington lost at Toronto, 3-2, last week, Neuvirth finished with 37 saves in a sloppy game for both teams. He has a 1-3-1 record this year, with a 2.97 goals against average and a .899 save percentage.

“If I play, it will obviously be totally different game,” Neuvirth said Monday. “We’ve got to be sharp.”

Washington’s lines and defensive pairings, meanwhile, were the same as Monday. Here’s what to expect based on Tuesday’s morning skate:

Woltek Wolski-Mike Ribeiro-Alex Ovechkin
Jason Chimera-Nicklas Backstrom-Troy Brouwer
Marcus Johansson-Joey Crabb-Joel Ward
Matt Hendricks-Jay Beagle-Eric Fehr

Mike Green-Karl Alzner
John Carlson-Tom Poti
Jeff Schultz-Tomas Kundratek

The quote of the day belongs to Ovechkin, who was asked about not scoring a goal at even strength this year.

“If I don’t have the chances, I say, ‘Okay, what’s wrong with me? What’s stopping me?’” Ovechkin said. “But last two games, last three games, I have chances. I have opportunities, especially against Pittsburgh. I feel like I have really good chances to score. Sometimes I have to be more concentrate on the puck … A couple times the rebound right there and my stick was high.”

Given Ovechkin’s issues finding the back of the net, another popular topic of discussion was Toronto star Phil Kessel. The dynamic forward leads the NHL in shots, but hasn’t tallied a goal through nine games.

“We’re all streaky at times, and I know it’s frustrating for both of those guys, I’m sure” Oates said, referring to both Ovechkin and Kessel. “But are you getting chances. If you’re not getting chances, then you’ve got to look in the mirror like, ‘What’s going on?’ Figure it out. But if you have opportunities, then I think you’re doing a lot of good things …  [Kessel] is getting chances. Hopefully he still struggles tonight.”

Mark Giannotto is a Montgomery County native who covers high school sports for The Washington Post. He previously covered Virginia and Virginia Tech football for five years.

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Mark Giannotto · February 5, 2013

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