Neuvirth will start against Florida on Thursday at Verizon Center, Coach Dale Hunter said as he offered support for the 24-year-old Czech.
“Neuvy’s given us good games. You seen the last game here against Montreal, he give us the win, it was him in there,” Hunter said. Against Tampa Bay on Monday, “he made big saves in the third period to give us a chance to keep it [close] so that we could tie it up. He deserves it. He’s been playing well.”
The injury to Tomas Vokoun, who is out indefinitely with a strained groin muscle, has forced the Capitals to rely on their home-grown 20-something netminders, and Hunter’s comments seem to indicate that it may truly be “Michal’s show,” as Brooks Laich termed it last Saturday.
Although it’s been a season of unpredictable workloads and dipping stats for Neuvirth, as he met with reporters the day before a critical contest against the Panthers he was calm and composed.
“I talked to [goaltending coach] Dave [Prior] and he was happy with the way I’m playing right now,” Neuvirth said. “We did some stuff on the ice right after practice. I had good practice and I’m feeling good. We need every guy to step up tomorrow and be ready.
“You’re just focusing on tomorrow’s game,” Neuvirth said of his mindset entering the final two games. “We need two points and we will do whatever it takes to get the two points tomorrow.”