Goaltender Tomas Vokoun was forced to leave Thursday’s game in Boston late in the first period with an apparent lower-body injury and is doubtful to return, according to a Capitals spokesman.

Vokoun started the contest at TD Garden but headed to the visiting dressing room with 1 minute 35 seconds remaining in the opening period. It’s likely Vokoun aggravated the groin muscle strain that has caused him to miss 14 of the past 18 games.

Over the past two days, Vokoun had assured the Capitals and reporters that he believed he was ready to get back in the net and he earned the starting nod against the Bruins from Coach Dale Hunter.

“I wouldn’t play if I couldn’t,” Vokoun said Wednesday. “If I felt like I wouldn’t be 100 percent out there I don’t want to hurt the guys playing at 90 percent.”

The 35-year-old Czech faced seven shots before leaving with the injury. He was replaced by Michal Neuvirth.

Prospect Braden Holtby, who is also on the trip with the Capitals, went to the dressing room after Vokoun departed. NHL rules would allow Vokoun to come into the contest if Neuvirth were to suffer an injury as well.

More to come after the game.

More on Capitals vs. Bruins:

Discuss the game on our open thread

Live game summary