Michal Neuvirth’s numbers certainly aren’t pretty right now, but after Washington’s 4-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday, the takeway wasn’t that the goaltender cost the visitors the game, but that he was left to fend for himself.
“I think he was left out to dry,” Coach Bruce Boudreau said. “I didn’t think the second goal was a good one, I think [it] went off his mask. The fourth one no one’s taking anybody in front, the third one it’s a breakaway. What are you going to do?”
Neuvirth was part of the reason why the score was tied at 1-1 at the end of the first period. Although things were even at the first intermission, the Capitals were giving Winnipeg too many quality chances.
“Our play in the first period is totally unacceptable,” Brooks Laich said. “We’re hanging Michal Neuvirth out to dry. First seven or eight minutes I think they have three or four two-on-ones, [Evander] Kane has a partial breakaway that hits the post. That’s unacceptable and something we have to address.”
Both of Kane’s goals were the result of turnovers, the first by Marcus Johansson and the second by Joel Ward. The second was the tally that Neuvirth most likely could have had, a shot that Kane went short side on with the netminder having already dropped to his knees.
Blake Wheeler’s goal (the Jets’ third) came off the rush on a partial breakaway, and the Winnipeg forward took a shot through traffic in the crease. Kyle Wellwood’s goal, Winnipeg’s fourth of the night, was a rebound that popped out to the right side on the power play and no one picked him up as he gained possession of the puck.
Neuvirth is now 1-3-1 with a 3.37 goals-against average and .883 save percentage. While he may not always have stellar support from the rest of the Capitals, those are still rough numbers.