Goaltender Michal Neuvirth participated fully in Friday’s practice, marking the first time he has done so since Nov. 29, when he stepped on a puck and injured his right ankle.
Neuvirth, 25, is eligible to be activated from injured reserve as early as Saturday, but the goaltender said he doesn’t believe he’s quite ready to return to the active lineup.
“It’s getting better every day, and I’m happy I made it through the first practice. It’s a good first step. Just gotta keep moving forward and get better,” Neuvirth said. “Obviously having just one practice, I don’t think I’ll be ready for the game with just one practice.”
With Neuvirth still on the shelf, Philipp Grubauer is expected to remain with the Capitals through the weekend. Coach Adam Oates said they’ve yet to decide whether they will split the workload in net this weekend with Washington playing back-to-back games Saturday at home against Nashville and Sunday at the New York Rangers.
“We’ll see how the games go,” Oates said. Grubauer has made three career NHL appearances, including a start last season against the Islanders on March 9. It doesn’t sound like the Capitals would hesitate to use Grubauer if he’s needed in either contest.
>> Brooks Laich didn’t skate and remains sidelined indefinitely by an injured right groin. Laich, 30, discussed the recurring injury and his recovery process Thursday.
Here’s what the lineup looked like today in practice:
Urbom, Oleksy, Erskine
Holtby, Grubauer, Neuvirth