By Sky Kerstein

Michal Neuvirth didn’t practice today as rookie Braden Holtby (4-2-1, 2.49 GAA, .922 Save pct.) will start game one for the Washington Capitals against the Boston Bruins tomorrow in the first round of the 2011-2012 NHL playoffs.

“I’m excited. This is the goal is to play in the playoffs and try your hardest to win a Stanley Cup,” Holtby said.  “Obviously I don’t want to get too jacked up or anything. I still have a job to do. I still have to prepare the same way I have all year. Just do the right things to be successful.”

Neuvirth will make the trip to Boston, Tomas Vokoun will not.  Vokoun did skate for approximately 20 minutes before practice today, but is still recovering from a groin injury and, as of yesterday, was behind Neuvirth in estimated time to return.

Even though Neuvirth didn’t practice today, Capitals Head Coach Dale Hunter said it wasn’t a setback after Neuvirth who practiced with the team for the first time yesterday since sustaining the “lower body” injury on April 5th.

“No, it was just a skate and then rest and then tomorrow we’ll see how he is,”  Hunter said.

Besides Neuvirth and Vokoun, all the other Caps practiced today.

The Caps forward lines looked like: Ovechkin-Laich-Brouwer, Chimera-Backstrom-Semin, Hendricks-Beagle-Johansson, Aucoin-Perreault-Ward-Knuble-Halpern-Eakin-Sjogren.

Mattias Sjogren, who the Caps recalled yesterday from Sweden, is expected to make the trip to Boston.

“Not right now, no,”  Hunter said on if Sjogren would play.  “He’s got to practice a bit before.”

Sjogren, who left for Sweden at the end of November, said his return to Washington came together very quickly.

“As soon as we lost the playoffs there in the semifinal in Sweden, my agent spoke to Washington. They were interested in getting me back and I get a call two days ago. I just packed my stuff and come here.”

Sjogren, who is projected as a fourth line center, doesn’t know if this means he’ll be here next year, but is happy for the opportunity.

“It feels like it’s a great opportunity to come here. I haven’t met the new coaches yet, so it’s great for me to come here and meet them.”

For the Bruins, Tim Thomas (35-19-1, 2.36 GAA, .920 Save pct.) is their game one starter in net.  Forward Nathan Horton (17 goals, 15 assists) is out for the series with a concussion.

Listen here to what Dale Hunter, Braden Holtby, Roman Hamrlik, Karl Alzner and Mattias Sjogren had to say following practice today.

Dale Hunter Practice Audio

Braden Holtby Practice Audio

Roman Hamrlik Practice Audio

Karl Alzner Practice Audio

Mattias Sjogren Practice Audio


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