WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 11: Michal Neuvirth #30 of the Washington Capitals makes a save against the Ottawa Senators at the Verizon Center on October 11, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
"He keeps getting better every game. That's a good sign for a young goaltender." - Bruce Boudreau, 10/11/10
Since the start of the 2008-09 season, the Washington Capitals have been an absolutely dominant team at home during the regular season, to the tune of a 61-14-9 record at Verizon Center.
While only ten of those 61 wins belong to current number one netminder Michal Neuvirth, his run in front of the red-rockin' faithful has been nothing short of staggering, compiling a 10-2-0/2.20/.928 line in 14 home appearances. As impressive as those numbers are, limit the time frame to last season and this one and those numbers shoot up to 9-1-0/1.79/.943. Perhaps most importantly, there's a remarkable consistency there - in his last nine starts at home, Neuvirth hasn't once surrendered more than two (or fewer than one) goals.
As astounding as the overall numbers is what Neuvirth (and the team in front of him) has been able to do on the penalty kill. In the Czech netminder's last half-dozen Verizon Center starts, the Caps are a perfect 24-for-24 in killing off opposing power plays, and 33 for their last 34 over a nine-game span.
Yes, the sample size is small, and shorthanded save percentage is "essentially random." But it's hard not to take notice of the numbers; you can bet tomorrow night's visitors, the New York Islanders, will.