Who Will Win the Battle in Net for the Washington Capitals

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Who Will Win the Battle in Net for the Washington Capitals
Greg Fiume/Getty Images

As the Washington Capitals 2013 season continues to spiral out of control, the question as to who will win the battle in net has become a virtual afterthought.

After all, the team has not scored more than three goals in any game so far this year. With that as a reality, Braden Holtby or Michal Neuvirth would have to be pitching shutouts very frequently for the Caps to be victorious.

Obviously, with a 2-8-1 record, neither goalie has been shutting out anyone so far.

Thursday night in Pittsburgh, things may have hit rock bottom, as Neuvirth was pulled after giving up a bad second goal, and Holtby allowed three more as the Caps were blown out by the Pens for the second time in less than a week.

Yes, these are tough times in D.C.

Nevertheless, the question of whether Holtby or Neuvirth will emerge as the Capitals No. 1 goalie is an important one.

Ever since Olaf Kolzig's final season in D.C. in 2008, the Caps have not had much luck finding any sort of stability in net.

They went from Cristobal Huet to Jose Theodore to Semyon Varlamov to Tomas Vokoun—and none of these goalies could provide the Caps with the same long-term stability that Kolzig had given them for a decade.

It is something that every team in the NHL, including the Caps, looks for each and every year. Every NHL team wants to find the next Ken Dryden, Patrick Roy or Grant Fuhr.

The Caps had to feel like they found their goalie of the future after the tremendous effort that Braden Holtby put forth during the 2012 NHL playoffs.

But optimism has turned into a sort of deja vu, as Holtby has faltered early this season, as has the rest of the team.

It is a familiar refrain for the Caps who saw similar strong playoff performances from Varlamov and Neuvirth not translate into regular season success the following year.

But, at 2-8-1, finding a goalie of the future is not nearly as important as finding the goalie of the present.

The Caps are giving up 3.73 goals per game and are ranked 29th in the NHL in goals allowed.

They are officially the worst team in the NHL with just five points. Something has to change and it must start with the Caps getting some consistent play in net from the goalies.

Recently, I wrote an article exploring whether Holtby or Neuvirth should get more time in net in 2013.

In this article, I take a look at which Caps goalie will ultimately win the battle in net this year—including some possible potential goalies who could, in theory, end up in D.C. before the season ends.

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