Washington Capitals rookie goalie Michal Neuvirth was knocked from Monday's contest after he absorbed a shot to his mask off the stick of Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nate Thompson.
Neuvirth, making his sixth consecutive start and the leading candidate for the No. 1 job heading into the playoffs, had his mask knocked off on the shot from 25 feet out. Although the volley came 21 seconds into regulation, Neuvirth didn't leave the game until the first intermission.
Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau told The Washington Post's Katie Carrera that a piece of metel from Neuvirth's mask went into his eye, but he'd be OK. Neuvirth's replacement, Braden Holtby, was more than capable as he stopped all 21 shots and turned away all three shooters in the shootout for a 2-1 victory over the Lightning as the Caps extended thier lead in the Southeast Division.
The Caps were already without Semyon Varlamov for about another week with what it thought to be a knee injury, never a fun injury to come back from when you're a butterfly goalie.
Washington's injury troubles weren't just limited to goaltending. First-line center Nicklas Backstrom didn't come out for third period. He was playing through a broken thumb, which limited him in the faceoff circle. There was no immediate word on the injury.
Boudreau told The Washington Post that Backstrom fell on his injured hand and should be fine.
Coincidentally, Neuvirth and Backstrom are scheduled to visit St. John the Baptist School in Silver Spring, Md., Tuesday afternoon. (Assistant coach Dean Evason and the team's mascot, Slapshot, were also the roster.) The visit was scheduled to inlcude a Q & A and a skills demonstration.