Coach Bruce Boudreau said Michal Neuvirth will make his second consecutive start and face the Devils tonight. New Jersey didn’t skate this morning after playing in Ottawa Thursday night, where the Senators won 3-1, so it’s unclear who will start for the Devils against Washington. Martin Brodeur made his ninth consecutive start for the Devils Thursday against the Senators.
“I thought the last goal [against the Red Wings] was a bad goal,” Boudreau said of Neuvirth. “Other than that, they had 36 shots and I thought he played pretty good.”
On to the injury front. Eric Fehr, who is officially listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury, was out on the ice for the skate but said he’s definitely not playing tonight.
Upon viewing a replay of the Capitals’ win in Montreal, Fehr got tangled up with one of the Canadiens near the Washington blue line and fell to the ice, landing on his right shoulder in his only shift of the second period before leaving the game. Fehr missed 22 games, from Jan. 16 to March 7, this season because of a dislocated right shoulder.
Given all of the injuries that the Capitals have weathered over the last month or so, with Backstrom, Fehr, Jason Arnott (undisclosed injury), Mike Green (concussion) and Varlamov (knee) all out for various periods of time, Boudreau said he’s not sure how the team will react if and when they’re all back in the mix.
“It will be an interesting thing,” Boudreau said. “Sometimes you play better sometimes you play worse. Sometimes you overachieve because the guys are hurt and then sometimes you get all your healthy bodies back and everybody else says: ‘Oh we can relax, they’re back they can do it.’ It’s a tough call but time will tell.
Boudreau added that while there is uncertainty about how the returns could impact the Capitals, he said it’s not hard to analyze how the team is playing as long as there is time to work the other players back into the fold before the playoffs.
“As long as you’re not adding them all Game One of the playoffs” Boudreau said. “The timeframe right now, if nobody else gets hurt, we should have all of them able to play the last five games of the year.”
--John Erskine said he will be a game-time decision after missing the last two games with the flu. The defenseman said he was feeling better but that from Monday to Thursday was so sick he was unable to eat much of anything.
--All of the Capitals players on the trip were on the ice for at least part of the morning skate, including all three goaltenders, Neuvirth, Semyon Varlamov and Braden Holtby, who all fully participated and took shots.
--D.J. King came off the ice early, as do the players who are expecting to play in the evening’s game, but he wasn’t sure if he would be in the mix or not. If Nicklas Backstrom returns, King will likely be one of the guys out tonight.