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Posted at 12:35 AM ET, 11/25/2010

Semyon Varlamov makes 30 saves in Caps' 3-2 win against 'Canes

By Katie Carrera

The Capitals' two biggest stars, Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, lit up the scoresheet Wednesday night, with five points and 15 shots between them while contributing to all three of Washington's goals in a much-needed 3-2 win over the Hurricanes at RBC Center.

While they -- along with linemate Brooks Laich, who scored the game-winner and added five shots of his own -- led the Capitals back to the playing style the team wants to see on a nightly basis, goaltender Semyon Varlamov earned his first win of the season with 30 saves.

Varlamov made big saves when called up in his first game back after missing the past 15 contests because of a lingering groin injury that has hampered him since training camp and limited him to appearances in just two games this season. Although there were times early against the Hurricanes where Varlamov gave up significant rebounds, he grew more grounded as the game went on and made strong, a few even sparkling, side-to-side saves.

"There was about a two-minute spurt in the first period where he was back and forth -- he looked like the old Varly," Laich said. "I think he's over the injuries with his groin. He was sliding post-to-post and when he's playing well he's acrobatic and he's making those reflex saves. It could have very easily been 1-1 or 2-1 them in the first with a couple chances that they had and he made the save."

Varlamov got help from his defense as he settled in to the game, as the Caps blueliners cleared rebound chances away from the front of the net, and appeared to grow more confident as time passed. It wasn't until Sergei Samsonov redirected a shot about 44 minutes into the contest that a Carolina shot found the back of the net.

"It's good playing -- it's been probably one month since I played in the NHL," Varlamov said. "At first it was hard because I didn't play many times in NHL, but I felt good.

"I think the team played great today," Varlamov said. "It was a big win for us, we needed to come back with a win" after the previous losses.

Said Coach Bruce Boudreau: "I thought he was quick as a cat. I think [he's] still a little bit rusty. When pucks were hitting him they weren't being smothered early, but his reflexes were tremendous and he made some very big saves."

--With an early trip back to Washington for the Capitals' practice Thursday, that's all from me tonight but I will have a few updates for you tomorrow between turkey courses. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

By Katie Carrera  | November 25, 2010; 12:35 AM ET
Categories:  Carolina Hurricanes, Semyon Varlamov  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Tonight's lineup: Caps at 'Canes
Next: The Ovechkin and Backstrom the Caps know and expect

Comments

That was a strong win. Both teams played very well. A ton of shots for the Canes in the 2nd, but the Caps never seemed to lose control of the game. Ovi led by example. Nice to have Varly back.

Posted by: Justafan | November 25, 2010 1:04 AM | Report abuse

Solid win. I think Laich brought a lot of accountability to the first line. He has much more discipline and hockey smarts than Semin and he's more aggresive than Knuble as of late.

Posted by: LloydChristmas | November 25, 2010 7:14 AM | Report abuse

OVI owed that BB. I missed the game but sounds like they played with heart. That is interesting that BB put OVI on the RW.

Posted by: pkme | November 25, 2010 8:21 AM | Report abuse

It was nice of BB to scratch DJ King again. Bradley hasn't donated blood lately so it was great seeing him get beaten like a rented mule... Locker commented that Bradley was the team best and most experienced fighter. It's almost as if King doesn't exist. I guess we need to get used to the fact we have an enforcer and forced to watch guys like Bradley get thrown around like rag dolls.

Posted by: FLDave | November 25, 2010 8:22 AM | Report abuse

King is being used like our last enforcer . He is a waste of a roster spot that could be used for the big {Chara ) like d-man. Dump kings & sloans salaries and get that man gmgm. GR8 played very well on the right . He should have it so he can move to any spot on the ice. Blackie was spotless also. I am puzzled though why alot of our shots on goal are hitting the pipes this season .

Posted by: doggydodo | November 25, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

I don't think the salaries of 17 and 89 can parlay into any kind of quality defenseman. they barely make 2m combined. That said, 17 is a serious waste of a roster spot.

Posted by: pebowers | November 25, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

@doggydodo
@pebowers

DJK is a waste of a roster space because BB has chosen to make him irrelevant....just about every other team in the Eastern Conf. has and plays an "enforcer", but we can't find 6-10 minutes a night for him?? It's odd that when it comes to TEAM success, only the Caps seem to think it's predicated on the RW slot of the 4th line....Bradley's fight was embarassing as a fan and certainly didn't do much to fire up the bench; DJK would've buried Bodie and hushed RBC Arena....The win was good (we could've just as easily lost), but the Canes dictated the physical play and when push came to shove, once again it was a Capital who needed medical repairs; it doesn't have to be this way!

Posted by: vermontcaps | November 25, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

I say move Hendricks or Bradley to the 3rd line, give any one of Fehr/Fleishman/Gordon/Steckel/Chimera/Johanssen the night off, and let's see what DJK can do. In fairness to him, he hasn't been given a legit chance to showcase what he can bring to the team. The Flyers do just fine w/Shelley, Carcillo, O'Donnell, and Meszaros in the lineup (and they don't have nearly the offensive firepower we have), yet we can't win w/DJK in the lineup and people here would replace Erskine in a New York minute because he's "too slow".....what a bunch of BALONEY

Posted by: vermontcaps | November 25, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

King has yet to win a fight this year and is a minus 3 in 6 games played(totaling about 33 minutes). He is not played because he is a liability when he is on the ice. plain and simple.

Posted by: pebowers | November 25, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

@doggydodo
"King is being used like our last enforcer."

Our last "enforcer", Brashear, was a regular in the lineup and dressed in the playoffs. Wasn't he the one who knocked out one of the best pk'ers and checkers the Rangers had? (Blair Betts)......No, DJK is hardly being used like our last enforcer; he's hardly used at all :(

Posted by: vermontcaps | November 25, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

the one game where he played 9 minutes was against Calgary and he had zeroes on the board in the stat line.

Posted by: pebowers | November 25, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Brashear brought many skills to the table that 17 lacks. Puck handling and ability to hit something come to mind. That is why Brash got minutes and why 17 does not.

Posted by: pebowers | November 25, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

I wouldn't read anything more into King's -3 rating than I did Shultz leading the league in that regard; they're both deceptive....I guess Green shouldn't have been given a jersey the game following his -4 performance last week. Let's face it, guys like Bob Probert, Tie Domi, Colton Orr, et al wouldn't get ice time under BB....it has nothing to do w/DJK and everything to do w/BBs philosophy (which is good enough to win the Southleast division, but not good enough to come out of the conference come playoff time)

Posted by: vermontcaps | November 25, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Brashear a puck handler and hitter? Surely you jest.....King is infinitely better than Brashear was as a player, you just haven't had the opportunity to witness it

Posted by: vermontcaps | November 25, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Guys like Domi, Orr and Probert wouldnt get time but Brashear would? I think that argument is pretty weak. The reason 17 has been benched for so long is because he is a poor player. Same reason Flash got benched for a game and same reason Fehr got benched for a game. 17 has shown nothing positive when he is on the ice that is why he watches so many games from the press box. If he could fight and play like Matt Hendricks he would play more but he cant so he doesnt.

Posted by: pebowers | November 25, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

regarding his one game w/zeroes across the statline, sounds like the vast majority of players on a nightly basis....until DJK gets some extended playing time on a consistent basis, it's impossible to render a fair and accurate assessment of what he can bring to the team. My point is we have too many heartless free-loaders on the team, certainly we can change that dynamic w/DJK getting a few games in here and there

Posted by: vermontcaps | November 25, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

"If he could fight more like Hendricks".....spoken like someone who only watches the Caps; DJK was a known, feared entity when he came to the Caps....Hendricks can beat up Boogaard??

Posted by: vermontcaps | November 25, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

6 games, 33 minutes, spread out over 2 months.....DJK was -1 in one game, -2 in another, and even for the other 4 games....I bet the majority of players on the team are minus players in 1/3 of their games played

Posted by: vermontcaps | November 25, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I am familiar with his rep but he hasnt played like that in 3 years. He hasnt been healthy enough to play more than 12 games since 07-08. I dont particularly care what he used to do. BTW, King got thumped by Boogard(as most would)he also got rocked by Colton Orr this year. The NHL has changed and has no room for pure fighters anymore, you have to prove you can bring something else to the table.

Posted by: pebowers | November 25, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

None of these guys will be ANY use to the teams once the REAL season starts in April... what you need is guys like Darren McCarty, NOT any of these guys.

Posted by: joek443 | November 25, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

I think that is a very accurate statement joek.

Posted by: pebowers | November 25, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Darren McCarty would be awesome, agreed as well....I'm not particularly a fan of DJK, but I'm a fan of players of his ilk and if we're going to be SC champions, I think we' be good enough to absorb his liabilities (and we are)...if he was brought here to add an element of toughness (thus giving us more swagger) let's at least give him a chance and let him feel like he's part of the team

Posted by: vermontcaps | November 25, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

I'm not just a Caps fan, I'm a fan of hockey (my wife refers to herself as a hockey widow when October rolls around). I've played/watched hockey since the 80's, PAID close to $3,000 for a DirecTV system when they first came out just so I could get MORE hockey. I watch every game I can and DVR those I can't. My exposure to players other than those on the Caps is pretty substantial.

I've seen DJ King play a number of games in a jersey other than the Caps. I can assure you that he is twice the player Brashear was. King has good speed for his size, can handle/shoot the puck better, will park in the crease, hits everything in a jersey not the color of his and is one of the best fighters in the league. As a fan of the game I would rather see him traded so I can watch him play on another team than waste away under BB's pu$$ified early playoff exit system.

Posted by: FLDave | November 25, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

BB should let King play more often than he has so far... I'd rather see him fight than guys like Bradley who plays an important role.

He should play at least once/week and against certain teams who have noted goons in their lineup.

Posted by: joek443 | November 25, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Why even get King if the plan is to not let him play. Seems like a stupid acquisition to me. Play him or ship him out!

Posted by: CAPSHOCKEY2 | November 26, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

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