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Scuderi: 'Varlamov Is Unbelievable Right Now'

David Steckel just won over a new generation of Caps fans, and this scintillating semifinal is making a bid to go down as one of the most memorable series in a generation.

It's that good.

Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are living up to their reputations as the three best players on the planet, having combined for 15 goals and 16 assists. Three games have gone to overtime. And now there's going to be a Game 7 at Verizon Center on Wednesday.

"If I wasn't behind the bench, I would sure enjoy watching," Caps Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "It's fun now, it might not have been fun if they had scored. This is so good for our game. When our best players can shine on a bright stage like this. I just wish it was for the Cup."

I'm really going to keep it short tonight since I've got a long drive back to Arlington in the morning. First, check out my gamer here and the rest of our coverage here, including a column from Wise, a sider from Svrluga as well as notebook and Bog items from Steinz.

On to the notes:

Super Stecks
In addition to scoring the winner 6:22 into overtime, checking line forward Steckel also was a beast on faceoffs, winning 11 of 15 (73 percent). The goal was Steckel's third of the playoffs and it more than made up for him misfiring on an empty net in overtime Saturday.

"I was really down after" missing the net in Game 5, Steckel said. "I was right there, and then to lose the game two minutes after that. I told myself if I had the chance to do it again, I wouldn't miss."

He didn't.

Steckel, who played 21:11, was reunited late in the second period of the game with Brooks Laich and Matt Bradley, the trio which had played so well earlier in the playoffs before being broken up after Game 3 of this series. All three contributed on the winner.

On the Edge
The Caps are now 6-1 in elimination games under Boudreau. The win also snapped Washington's seven-game losing streak in overtime in the playoffs is also history. The Caps are now 2-6 vs. the Penguins in overtime games.

Not Enough
Penguins Coach Dan Bylsma and his players regretted not getting a second goal in the first period, despite taking 18 shots on Simeon Varlamov.

"I wanted that period to keep going and skip intermission," Bylsma said. "We played a good period. To their credit, they kept it to one, partially due to their defensemen and partially due to their goaltending. They were able to bounce back in the second and the game see-sawed back and forth from there."

A Lot to Laich
Laich scored his first goal of the series and second of the playoffs when Alexander Semin's shot hit him on the knee before eluding Marc-Andre Fleury. The goal was originally awarded to Semin, who still doesn't have a goal this series.

Laich also had an assist.

Big Night For Kozlov
Barry wrote a sidebar on Viktor Kozlov's night. But I wanted to point out that he came into this postseason with no goals in 21 career playoff games. After notching a pair tonight, he's now got four goals and six points.

Varlamov In Pens' Heads?
Varlamov had another outstanding performance, stopping 38 shots, including 17 in a lopsided first period. Here's what Pittsburgh defenseman Rob Scuderi had to say:

"What can you say? Varlamov is unbelievable right now," said Scuderi, who rang a shot off the crossbar early in overtime. "I think he's played well the entire series. It's Game 7, so I hope we come with our best effort. I think we've played well the entire series. He's due ...we want to make sure he doesn't steal an entire series from us."

Boudreau on Ovechkin, Crosby and Malkin
"They're unbelievable," Boudreau said of Ovechkin and Crosby. "Malkin is just as incredible. They play at a level that other people can't attain because they're that much more superior."

I'll check in from the practice tomorrow morning.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  May 12, 2009; 12:43 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Sports Bog: How the Caps Celebrated
Next: Mike Wise: Unleash the Fury


Varlamov in Caps' heads? He's gave up 4 goals. He's given up 13 goals in the last 3 games. That being said, both goalies were average tonight.

Posted by: SC87 | May 12, 2009 1:11 AM | Report abuse

4 goals on 42 shots isn't that bad. Only one I'm sure he would've really liked to have back was Eaton's goal. It's hard to blame either goalie in this series though, the amount of talent on the ice basically eliminates the possibility of seeing 1-0 or 2-1 games.

Case in point, is there any real surprise that none of the 3 OT games has reached a 2nd OT period?

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | May 12, 2009 1:15 AM | Report abuse

You have to drive? Is the Post in that much financial distress that they won't let you fly? It's a 35-minute flight!

Posted by: 1995hoo | May 12, 2009 1:16 AM | Report abuse

haha first, you mis quoted, 2nd. average... varlie played nothing short of amazing. just because you have MAF and dont know what good goaltending looks like, I wouldnt expect you to realize it when it comes around. WOOO

GAME 7!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: capsfan387 | May 12, 2009 1:16 AM | Report abuse

I meant Varlamov in the PENS heads, lol.

Posted by: SC87 | May 12, 2009 1:17 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: SC87 | May 12, 2009 1:18 AM | Report abuse

Joe B. reported on his blog that if Scuderi's shot that hit the crossbar had gone in the refs would've washed it out due to interference on Varly.

Which is good to know.

Posted by: Osfan092589 | May 12, 2009 1:21 AM | Report abuse

Joe B. is a terrible broadcaster.

Posted by: SC87 | May 12, 2009 1:23 AM | Report abuse

MAF has been horrendous this entire series. He gave up 5 goals on 24 shots tonight, which has been par for the course. It is the most under reported storyline of this series.

As for Varlamov, he is facing nearly twice as many shots a game as MAF. Put any other goalie still alive in the playoffs in the Pens net and some that went out in the first round and this series would have been over long ago.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | May 12, 2009 1:25 AM | Report abuse

MAF got screwed by Hal Gill when he went behind him and blocked him from going across the crease to stop that Kozlov goal.

Posted by: SC87 | May 12, 2009 1:28 AM | Report abuse


we get it. you're a pens fan. that's awesome. you're making a fool out of yourself. go post with the other d-bags on the penguins board, there should be plenty of tissues to go around.

Posted by: nwilson2 | May 12, 2009 1:33 AM | Report abuse

and for the record, if Joe B is so awful, why is he doing games for Versus as well as DC's comcast network. are any of the regional commentators for the Penguins employed for a national network? didn't think so. shut up.

Posted by: nwilson2 | May 12, 2009 1:34 AM | Report abuse

Wow you people want to talk about hypocrites all the time yet you were all planning off-season moves and what went wrong this playoffs for your team after Saturday's loss. What good fans you guys are...

Posted by: SC87 | May 12, 2009 1:35 AM | Report abuse

wow really? Joe B. is on VS? Because VS is such a well-known, high profile channel right? Joe B. is a homer through and through and his play call is very annoying. I'm not a Pens fan but Mike Lange is much better than Joe B.

Posted by: SC87 | May 12, 2009 1:37 AM | Report abuse

SC87 posts like crazy and they shut me down for too many posts -- that would be 1 a column. Gamem 7 will not be close. MAF will be on the bench after 1. 7-4 Final. Caps Advance.

Posted by: Political_Stratgst | May 12, 2009 1:42 AM | Report abuse

I'm looking forward to Wednesday night when, win or lose, SC87 stops posting on the blog.

Posted by: Raber | May 12, 2009 1:48 AM | Report abuse

Beagle didn't play much. I hope that Brash is back for game 7!!

Posted by: ilovethenats | May 12, 2009 1:49 AM | Report abuse

In your other posts you asked how VS was to watch because you didnt get it...That being said, if you dont have the knowledge of the chanel how can you say all those things about Joe B??? Do you get comcast? If not where do you hear all those "homer calls"??? Tonight was the first time i have ever heard him complain about the officals, how about you?

Posted by: Boomer80 | May 12, 2009 1:50 AM | Report abuse


While many things you say can only be argued with different points of view your statement of Joe B is far off target. Joe B does play by play for the Caps, for Versus during the season and playoffs, and also does play by play for college and professional lacrosse. While I can't "prove" that you're wrong, there are many networks (Comcast, Versus and ESPN) who are hiring him to do a lot of work. Last time I checked most people hired by these networks are the cream of the crop. You can take Mike Lange and his Michael Michael motorcycle crap and tell him to drive you, himself and the Pens straight to the golf course after game 7. What kind of a teenager are you to where not only are you not a Rangers fan, not a Pens fan but yet a Senators fan! Who are you to be talking about anything hockey right about now?

Posted by: pokerface1208 | May 12, 2009 2:27 AM | Report abuse

Joe B. and locker are the best announcing team in sports. I only wish Joe could take Locker with him when he goes to Versus.

On another matter . Both Goalies have been excellent this sires. They have both kept their teams in all the games.That's what their job is, It would be nice to always shut out the other team but we know that doesn't happen often. Varley has been excellent because he's turned away about twice as many shots on goal as Flurey.

Posted by: duckyjimpond | May 12, 2009 2:37 AM | Report abuse

SC87: Get out of here. This is why we hate the Penguins. You seem to get greater enjoyment out of taunting/criticizing/etc. the Caps (and every positive comment Caps' fans make) than you do out of the Penguins. Let us enjoy our team and you go enjoy whoever you root for. Seriously, your behavior is classless, childish, and cowardly. I'm sure, though, your posting on here, gives you some sort of joy; you feel good about yourself because you post on here. Tha's really sad -- the way you feel joy is through attacking a group of people you will never meet and, I'm sure, if you met some of them face to face, you'd shrink and wouldn't be able to look them in the eye. You have proven your manliness through your behavior, you've proven the value of your life through your behavior on here. I'm sure you wouldn't mind any of us identifying and posting your IP address so we can email you straight up, like men. You're tough, you could take us doing to you what you've done to us, right?

Posted by: Matt23185 | May 12, 2009 5:33 AM | Report abuse

who cares what SC87 says. he's a tool that's never played the sport. you honestly care what he says? haha

Posted by: MNMNT | May 12, 2009 6:51 AM | Report abuse

Green HAS to be hurt. He's playing like he's 90 yrs. old. What's up with him? I think is his right shoulder

Posted by: phrdlick | May 12, 2009 7:46 AM | Report abuse

I sure hope BB puts Stecks, Laich and Bradley back together tomorrow night. LET'S GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: AmyS1 | May 12, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Tarik: Have you noticed that the Caps' and Pens's farm teams (at Hershey and WilkesBarre/Scranton, respectively) are playing each other in a 7th game Calder Cup preliminary tonight?? Its gratifying that the Pens/Caps rivalry is destined to continue for another generation of players, and also to know that our players in Hershey are so talented, even though the Caps have had to call up some key players.

Posted by: baruchgershom | May 12, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Great win, but what's wrong with Green? It looks like he's favoring his shoulder and is afraid to let loose on any slap shots. If he's going to be a liability on defense, he needs to do something on offense. BB needs to think more about using Poti or Pothier on the PP because Greenie is a non-factor.

It's a Game 7 and BB can't worry about hurt feelings if he cuts back on Green's minutes to use guys who are more effective.

Posted by: wizfan89 | May 12, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

@SC87: Really, again, StanleyCup1907? First, it was Semin that you spent the better part of the second half of the season bagging on. Trust me, we ALL remember. The same way you got booted off that SN, is the EXACT same way you'll get booted off SC87. Save us the trouble of reporting you again.

A majority of us hadn't written off the Capitals after Saturday's game. You're deluded in that recollection of yours. But then, we wouldn't expect any less of a tool like yourself to manipulate information and expect no one to call you out on it.

Varlamov has done exceptionally well for his first time in the playoffs. We can only pretend to know what he's going through but whatever he's doing to get through each game the way he does, win or lose, we'll take it. SC87, I can't imagine what life you live. Just short of calling out our team for their mistakes and dismissing the successes we're racking up, I don't know what else you'd be good for.

I hate to break it to you SC87, but I don't think anyone would miss you if you disappeared off these boards. Do us a favor and try to salvage what little dignity you have left and just quietly leave. You'll feel a little bit better.

Go Caps! Take Game 7!

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | May 12, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

based on the tone and the whining and the adolescent taunting coming from SC87, I'm pretty sure that he is, in fact, Sidney Crosby.

Posted by: DreamOutLoud | May 12, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Objectively speaking we really don't deserve to win this series based on how the games have gone. We've gotten outplayed in every game except for game 5 and even in that one we were about even with the Pens. Yet, here we are going to game 7 in large part due to our young goalie Varlamov who despite having one bad game has been brilliant overall under a constant barrage of shots (over 40 per game in the last few). Not only he's faced a ton of shots, but many of them have been great scoring chances off the sticks of some of the world's best players.

Some people are tough on the kid because they expect him to save everything now, but all you have to do is look at last night's crazy game 6 between Vancouver and the Hawks in which 2 star netminders got lit up for 12. Luongo, arguably the best goalie in the world at the moment let in 7 in a game his team had to win to stay alive. Varly has battled through all kinds of traffic and never gives up on any shot. If not for him we'd be out by now.

Posted by: ranndino | May 12, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

It's more than obvious that you have no idea what you're talking about. Varlamov was the only reason we were in the game last night after an absolutely horrible first period. The game would simply have been over as a contest if not for Varly and there would be no game 7. And that's just in the 3rd. He also came up with 2 HUGE saves on that BS last 2 min PP that you got. He was immense for us.

All you care about is counting the number of goals, which shows that you don't have a clue. Yeah, he let in 4, so what? I guess in your stupid head it wouldn't matter if the Pens got 70 shots and 35 scoring chances. As long as a goalie lets in 4 he must suck, eh?

Also, blaming Varly for the Eaton goal is just as stupid. That one was completely on Poti for stepping up and missing his guy and on Jurcina for blindly throwing the puck between his legs right onto Eaton's stick. It was a total gift and Varly simply had no time to set himself, but once again all you care about is that it went fivehole because intelligent analysis of what actually happened would be too much for you.



Posted by: SC87 | May 12, 2009 1:18 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: ranndino | May 12, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Varlamov shirts - from Russia with Glove

Posted by: ncg1983 | May 12, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

ya because that shirt is so original

Posted by: SC87 | May 12, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

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