Neuvirth to start, Green in doubt for Caps

Neuvirth to start, Green in doubt for Caps
January 31, 2014, 1:15 pm
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Oct 28, 2010; St. Paul, MN, USA; Washington Capitals goalie Michael Neuvirth (30) before the game against the Minnesota Wild at the Xcel Energy Center.

(Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports)

Maybe another change in goal will bring about a change in the way the Caps have been playing lately.

Michal Neuvirth is set to make his first start in a week when the Capitals visit the Detroit Red Wings tonight at Joe Louis Arena [7:30 p.m., CSN].

Neuvirth is 1-2-0 since returning from an ankle injury, allowing eight goals in his last three starts. His last win came on Jan. 10 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Neuvirth [3-5-1, 2.79, .915] has faced the Red Wings just one other time in his career, allowing three goals.

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Capitals coach Adam Oates said defenseman Mike Green would be a game-time decision tonight after the 28-year-old veteran was slammed hard into the glass by Blue Jackets forward Boone Jenner Thursday night. Green did not return to the game following the first-period collision.

The Caps are calling Green’s injury and “upper body” injury, but on Friday they recalled defenseman Tyson Strachan from the Hershey Bears of the AHL.  Strachan, a right-handed shot, is likely to replace Green tonight alongside Dmitry Orlov.

Strachan, 29, has skated in nine games with the Caps this season, registering 19 penalty minutes. 

Strachan appeared in 34 games with Hershey this season, tallying 14 points [two goals, 12 assists] and 48 penalty minutes. To make room for him, the Caps sent Ryan Stoa back to Hershey.

Center Mikhail Grabovski is also expected to miss tonight’s game with a left foot/ankle injury.

[MORE: Green leaves caps game with injury]

The Caps are 2-2-0 during their five-game road trip, which concludes tonight. They are coming off their second lopsided loss to the Blue Jackets in less than two weeks.

“Collectively, it was terrible,” Oates said, noting the team’s inability to complete breakout passes and poor decisions with and without the puck.

The Caps have won just two of their last 10 games [2-6-2] and NHL team has fewer victories during that time.

The Red Wings are 3-4-1 in their last eight games, with two of their victories coming in shootouts. They are coming off a 5-0 loss in Philadelphia, a game in which they were without Stephen Weiss, Johan Franzen, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrk Zetterberg. Zetterberg is expected to return to the lineup tonight.

While scoring 5-on-5 has been a problem all season, the Caps have been especially ineffective on the power play this month, going 6-for-48 for a 12.5 percent success rate.

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