In Washington's first game of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, rookie goaltender Michal Neuvirth displayed great presence of mind after he surrendered a wide open crank from New York's Matt Gilroy. Regardless of the Ranger's sole tally of the game, Neuvy kept his chin up and continued to make tremendous saves.
As a former lacrosse goalie, I can tell you that it isn't easy to remain focused and confident after allowing a goal.
I always trust Michal Neuvirth to perform well, and hopefully all Capitals faithful do as well. Yes, there have been a few shaky moments throughout the rookie's freshmen campaign. Keyword there is few. Those of you who are naysayers must remind yourselves that Neuvirth is only a rookie, and a damn good one at that.
I'll admit that during the regular season there were times when I questioned Neuvy. However, it was never his abilities as a goalkeeper which had me in doubt.
I resolved that my skepticism emanated from my experience as a goaltender, bar the sport was lacrosse. I felt that Neuvirth had trouble remaining positive and focused after allowing goals. Nine times out of 10, the defense is liable for surrendered goals.
We clearly saw this when Matt Gilroy shed his defender and sent one to the lower left corner past Neuvirth.
I was stricken with that same feeling of doubt, and fully expected at least one more goal from the Rangers. Much to my liking, Michal Neuvirth proved my doubts wrong and continued to make excellent save after excellent save.
In such a tone-setting game of the series and playoffs for that matter, I believe we can put to rest any doubts concerning Neuvirth's ability to stay strong after giving up a goal. If anyone read my article titled "First Round X-Factors and Predictions", I stated that Washington's x-factor would be the goal tending.
After the first game of the series, I think Michal Neuvirth has made more than a favorable impression regarding my prediction and what hopefully will be a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals and an eventual championship in the Nation's capital.
Bravo Neuvy, and LET'S GO CAPS!