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Varlamov appears set to start Game 3

Coach Bruce Boudreau wouldn't say which goaltender will get the nod in Game 3 tonight at Bell Centre, but Semyon Varlamov exited the ice before Jose Theodore at the morning skate.

The first goaltender off the ice is almost always that night's starter. Meantime, Theodore, who yielded goals on the first two shots he faced Saturday, stayed on the ice for extra work.

More in a bit. Meantime, watch this:

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 19, 2010; 11:55 AM ET
 
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Next: Boudreau shakes up lines

Comments

Puck Daddy pointing out the obvious - kind of what we have been saying all year for the past couple years:

http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/blog/puck_daddy/post/What-We-Learned-For-Capitals-no-defense-wins-n?urn=nhl,235079#remaining-content

Posted by: lylewimbledon | April 19, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

In Varly we trust! Lets go CAPS!!! Is it game time yet??

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | April 19, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I was hoping for Theo, but OK.

Anyone know who we're shooting at in net for Montreal? The Caps seem to have read the book on Halak.

Posted by: Justafan | April 19, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Who will be in Net for the Habs?? Will they make a change. Who cares...I think we make a statemnt tonight and breeze to victory.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | April 19, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

From your lips to the hockey gods' ears!

Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | April 19, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

I feel like Theo would have gotten the start tonight if the game was not in Montreal. Shouldnt matter who is in net, the D needs to fix the holes.

LETS GO CAPS!!

Posted by: DCinNYC | April 19, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

i guess "a longer leash" meant about 6 minutes longer than the year before

Posted by: _stevo | April 19, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

To be frank, it doesn't matter who starts. If d men keep pinching on offense and Montreal keeps getting odd man rushes, much the same will happen for the Capitals. Yes, we may be able to outscore the Habs, but against any other team in the playoffs this style of play will not work. BB's coaching style is not working right now.

Posted by: SuperZ3383 | April 19, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

I am actually less worried the goalie situation than the PP, which has been inept for weeks now. One serious problem (unnoticed, as far as I can tell) has been Backstrom's seeming inability to win an offensive zone face-off (wins in the neutral and defensive zone pad his overall statistics). This not only leads quickly to defensive clears, but deprives the Caps of one of their most lethal weapons--the OV one-timer wrister (in fact, I blame NB's face-off fall-off for OV not winning the Richard). NB's old trick of kicking the puck back to OV hasn't been working (except for exactly one face-off at the end of a period Saturday), so I hope he's been working on this aspect of his (otherwise sensational) game. Also, what in the world was BB doing putting on the second PP unit (Fehr and Flash instead of NB and Semin) with *37 seconds* left in a PP with the game tied at 4-4 late in the third period--smacked of desperation, and didn't make sense.

Posted by: jhershb | April 19, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

We won our last game with "No defense"....if we score more then the other team...who cares if we win 6-5 or 2-1. Sure nobody has ever won anything with "limited defense"....but we are not nobody.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | April 19, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

The breeze to victory fantasy is a nice one to have, and one I dream about having. Then again, if you look at the regular season against the Habs -- all one goal games and 2 OTs -- and look at the playoffs generally, this is a very unlikely scenario. It would be nice.

If we can find ways to find open ice this could happen. Hopefully the Caps brain trust is finding the way.

Posted by: Justafan | April 19, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Good call coach....

Posted by: 850-850 | April 19, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

@ Capsfannmiss

What happened on Saturday night does not happen a lot in the Playoffs. Tha Capitals may try to beat the old mantra that "Defense wins championships", but they won't get too far against a better club than the Habs. Just saying is all. BB is getting coached under the table right now.

Posted by: SuperZ3383 | April 19, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Boudreau is a doofus

Posted by: doughless | April 19, 2010 12:09 PM |

Posted by: richmondphil | April 19, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Wow, poor Ta-oy. I think we should go with him.

First goal was all Poti - he could not have played that shot worse and it deflected off his stick. No chance at all for any goalie to save that.

Second goal - #55 and ? backed off, let Kostitsyn shoot from between the circles unmolested. No attempt to block or challenge.

Neither goal Jose's fault.

Posted by: RedLitYogi | April 19, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

I don't really understand all the people saying that who we start in goal doesn't matter if we keep playing poor defense. Of course poor defense could lose us games despite the goalie, but there is no question that goalies can steal games for the team. Sure, we shouldn't rely on that, but who starts in goal absolutely matters.

Personally, I would have gone with Theo. Varly just hasn't looked strong, and Theo has managed to steal games for us recently, and he had a good showing in game 1. Sure, he gave up two quick goals in game 2, but it isn't like Varly looked like Ken Dryden out there.

Posted by: Steph22 | April 19, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

To be frank, it doesn't matter who starts. If d men keep pinching on offense and Montreal keeps getting odd man rushes, much the same will happen for the Capitals. Yes, we may be able to outscore the Habs, but against any other team in the playoffs this style of play will not work. BB's coaching style is not working right now.

Posted by: SuperZ3383 | April 19, 2010 12:16 PM |

Um...The Caps have had more odd-man breaks than the Habs have had in the two games.

Just sayin....

There is a lot more going on then to just blame it on BB or a few guys. The team needs to play better. Period.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 19, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

The Caps must absolutely tighten up their defensive game and challenge the middle if they want win this or any other PLAYOFF series.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | April 19, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Wow, poor Ta-oy. I think we should go with him.

First goal was all Poti - he could not have played that shot worse and it deflected off his stick. No chance at all for any goalie to save that.

Second goal - #55 and ? backed off, let Kostitsyn shoot from between the circles unmolested. No attempt to block or challenge.

Neither goal Jose's fault.

Posted by: RedLitYogi | April 19, 2010 12:25 PM

yep. i agree.

Posted by: beaupre33 | April 19, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Steph 22, good point.

I think Varly can make that SPECTACULAR save in a game (as witnessed last year in game 1 or Pitts), but he can't make 3 or 4 saves like that a game and that is what we would need him to do if the defense changes nothing.

Posted by: SuperZ3383 | April 19, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

"top corner" Halak gets the start.

http://www.ctv.ca/news/


Posted by: Justafan | April 19, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

I don't really understand all the people saying that who we start in goal doesn't matter if we keep playing poor defense. Of course poor defense could lose us games despite the goalie, but there is no question that goalies can steal games for the team. Sure, we shouldn't rely on that, but who starts in goal absolutely matters.

Personally, I would have gone with Theo. Varly just hasn't looked strong, and Theo has managed to steal games for us recently, and he had a good showing in game 1. Sure, he gave up two quick goals in game 2, but it isn't like Varly looked like Ken Dryden out there.

Posted by: Steph22 | April 19, 2010 12:26 PM |
The point of us saying it doesn't matter is because it doesn't matter. They both can play great, ans they both can let in the softest goals imaginable. In that sense, it doesn't matter who's back there at all. If one falters, put the other in.


As far as deciding to put Theo in, that's just absurd to me, considering the atmosphere he's going to get up in MTL.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 19, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Ok, I'm just going to go ahead and admit it, I did not know Ameritel has been providing copiers to the Verizon Center for three years.

Posted by: TheLeaver | April 19, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Prevent goals is like capital preservation in investments.
Also prevents income generation.
Sports analogy is prevent defense.

Score more than the other guys.
You win.
Simple.

Posted by: Rocc00 | April 19, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

The goalie situation is an unnecessary distraction. It's not like we are deciding between a hot Lalime and a struggling Miller.

Posted by: ablake70 | April 19, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

doesn't matter whose fault those goals were, you can't expect to stay between the pipies when you allow goals in 3 consecutive shots in the playoffs

Theo is no Broduer, Miller, Luongo or Craig Anderson... he hasn't earned that right for this team especially in the playoffs where he's still winless for this team.

Posted by: joek443 | April 19, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

am actually less worried the goalie situation than the PP, which has been inept for weeks now. One serious problem (unnoticed, as far as I can tell, has been Backstrom's seeming inability to win an offensive zone face-off (wins in the neutral and defensive zone pad his overall statistics). This not only leads quickly to defensive clears, but deprives the Caps of a lethal weapon--the quick OV one-timer (in fact, I blame NB's face-off fall-off for OV not winning the Richard). NB's old trick of kicking the puck back to OV hasn't been working (except for exactly one face-off at the end of a period Saturday), so I hope he's been working on this aspect of his (otherwise sensational) game.

Posted by: jhershb | April 19, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

The forward lines according to Japers Rink

8-19-22
14-18-28
21-9-16
25-39-10

Posted by: ablake70 | April 19, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

The goalie situation is an unnecessary distraction. It's not like we are deciding between a hot Lalime and a struggling Miller.

Posted by: ablake70 | April 19, 2010 12:33 PM |

Exactly.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 19, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Yes, a goalie can steal a game, sometimes even a series but let's not put it ALL on our goalie to steal it. Let's play a TEAM game. Defense starts with the forwards and ends with our D-man clearing the crease and giving our goalie a chance to stop the puck.

We need to play a strong team game for 60 minutes. I just don't understand how and why the team hasn't learned this lesson from the past 2 post-seasons.

I know I've said this before and I have to say it again. Please Mike Green, please take the body of the man that's standing all alone right next to our next, please just tie up his stick as you knock him away from the net. It really helps keep pucks from going so easily into our net and would be greatly appreciated by your teammates and the fans. Thank you.

Posted by: natresgroup | April 19, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

@ joek443

Good point. Theo's record as a Capital in the Playoffs is 0 wins. Varly is 8-6 in the postseason.

The thing that worries me is if Varly struggles and you take him out, Montreal will be alive and pound Theo with the TAY-OH to no end.

Posted by: SuperZ3383 | April 19, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

I may be wrong, but there appears to be evidence that Boudreau doesn't know how to handle goaltenders.

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 19, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

The forward lines according to Japers Rink

8-19-22
14-18-28
21-9-16
25-39-10

Posted by: ablake70 | April 19, 2010 12:37 PM

I would switch 14 and 21 even though both have been worthless so far. At least by having 21 on the second line, you have someone at least willing to bang and go to the net whereas 14 gives you a stick check and lets you go on your way.

Posted by: Moose33 | April 19, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone see that Boyle own goal last night?

Ouch....

Reminded me of Steve Smith when he put it in against Fuhr. haha.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 19, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

The point of us saying it doesn't matter is because it doesn't matter. They both can play great, ans they both can let in the softest goals imaginable. In that sense, it doesn't matter who's back there at all. If one falters, put the other in.


As far as deciding to put Theo in, that's just absurd to me, considering the atmosphere he's going to get up in MTL.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 19, 2010 12:28 PM |

Yes, I agree that if one falters you should put the other in, and actually didn't have a problem with Varly coming in on Saturday. However, I guess we have a fundamental difference of opinion because I believe that right now Theo is the better goalie. He has played well for us down the stretch, and I think Varly hasn't looked strong since his injury. That's why I would start Theo over Varly. But if you feel that the goalies are essentially equal right now, then yeah, starting Varly would make sense.

One positive for the Caps is that there have been a lot of high scoring games in the playoffs thus far, indicating defenses haven't been playing as tightly as we would have expected. We can only hope that means that this year might be a little different and an offensive juggernaut with defensive question marks might be able to succeed.

Posted by: Steph22 | April 19, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Theme in every sport - score more than the other team.
Lets see - they scored more than us in Gm1.
We did that in Gm2.

Sure goaltending & defense are COMPONENTS of the game.
There are other aforementioned like PP, PK, etc.

2 goals on 2 shots - bad.
6 goals on 30+ - good.

Simple math.

Posted by: Rocc00 | April 19, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I actually like the line changes although I'd like to find consistency. This is more about trying to get Laich and Semin off versus tinkering with 3rd and 4th lines whom arguable have been our best the couple of games (although 8-19-22 certainly came through big on Saturday).

Lets go Caps!

Posted by: DWGie | April 19, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Why is it that the first goalie off the ice after practice usually signifies the starter for that game? If Varly starts then I am dissapointed with BB. Theo has earned his shot.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | April 19, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

@What happened on Saturday night does not happen a lot in the Playoffs. Tha Capitals may try to beat the old mantra that "Defense wins championships", but they won't get too far against a better club than the Habs. Just saying is all. BB is getting coached under the table right now.

Posted by: SuperZ3383 | April 19, 2010 12:22 PM |


I believe....that Coach B outcoached Martin last Sat. night. He was smart enough to pull his goalie and give his team a chance. Martin left his goalie in and got hung with the big L.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | April 19, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

i think Flash has sucked so far this series. he is lucky to be in the lineup

Posted by: doughless | April 19, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

I may be wrong, but there appears to be evidence that Boudreau doesn't know how to handle goaltenders.

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 19, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

not sure i agree. do you really think this team would have beat the rangers last year w/ theo? do you think we would have gone seven with the pens? i dont. not that i would put that all on theo, but varly was outstanding last year. i think BB has a pretty good bead on his goalies.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | April 19, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

@ Capsfannmiss

While I do agree that BB's decision may have gotten the W, in two games total I think BB's style has been figured out. Sure there were signs of the Capitals completely dominating play, but it was 5-4 with less than 2 min left on Saturday night.

Caps play THEIR game and play TEAM defense, then it does not matter who is in net.

Posted by: SuperZ3383 | April 19, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

@ Super73383

In addition to playing THEIR game and TEAM defense (which is to have forward backcheck), I think the key to Game 2 (and playoff hockey in general) is to get active in front of the net. Playoff hockey isn't about being fancy. It's about creating scoring chances and that comes from creating traffic in front of the next and getting timely goals.

Posted by: DWGie | April 19, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Since BB's modus operandi is "ride the hot goalie to death," going to back to Huet's 20 straight (13 regular season, 7 in the Philly playoff series) in 2008, and Varly's 13 straight in last year's playoffs, it'll be interesting to see if BB can really bring himself to alternate Varly and Theo.

I voted for Theo in the poll, just figuring if they're ever going to get the Montreal monkey off Theo's back, 1-1 series is when to do it. I agree with most folks that the D-men and the team as a whole need to make smarter decisions defensively, or else either goalie will keep getting hung out to dry.

Posted by: blackjack65 | April 19, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I was on the fence, frankly--can't blame him on the 2nd goal Saturday night--but if Wise says to go with Theodore, that probably indicates it was wiser to go with Varly.

Posted by: jhershb | April 19, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Bottom line is that Theo played great in Game 1 and that was with horrendous defense. He gave up one soft goal in the 1st period, but the 2nd wasn't going to be stopped. The Caps defenseman do a poor job of checking at the blueline and allow the Canadiens carte blanche to enter the offensive zone. Most of the Canadiens shots are without even the benefit of a pass in the offensive zone given the amount of room they have to use.

Varly didn't exactly play great in Game 2 in reserve and didn't play well since the Olympics. No reason IMO to expect him to play better in Game 3. Dance with the girl you brought with you and see how things turn out. BB is panicking and now has probably killed Theo's confidence.

Posted by: wizfan89 | April 19, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Criticism of Bodreau is not valid. His style of coaching got the Caps to the playoffs with a record year. He certainly does not like what he is seeing on the PP, nor does he coach being a bone-head on D.

At some point I am sure we can begin to draw conclusions about his coaching style, it is not now, nor will it even be anytime soon. You work with what you are given, any coach deals with that fact.

All that being said, I am on the Theo gets his chance bandwagon. Hopefully Varly does well and we continue through the series. However, Theo deserves a shot, if only for the regular season success he had. I am not liking his chances at getting re-signed, but I still stand by him playing this playoff series.

Posted by: CapsKnewbie | April 19, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

"I may be wrong, but there appears to be evidence that Boudreau doesn't know how to handle goaltenders."

@JohninMpls:

You're quite wrong, it only appears that way until you analyze both situations, this year and last where he pulled Theo, in detail. In short, defensive breakdowns contributed, but Theo should have stopped at least two of the three with as they were open looks and by allowing those goals his disrupted the team's early game plan, chemistry, drive and overall confidence as both took place at pivitol moments. His moves were less about goaltenders and more about sending a message to the team. Boudreau learned long ago that calling a timeout and lambasting the players was a waste of a valuable game asset and accomplished nothing to boost the confidence of the players in this modern era of highly paid athletes. Combine that with the fact he knows both goalies are extremely talented and a platoon system is possible in emergencies makes Boudreau seem more like a master of his craft, a man who knows the chemistry and makeup of his team factors into the decision as much as his own personal experience as coach in game time situations like this.

If after the last few seasons you don't have confidence in Boudreau, you're either not a hockey fan or blind as a bat.

Posted by: JimGoldbloomVA | April 19, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Steven Hindle on Hockeybuzz.com is reporting that Theo will get the start... http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog/Steven-Hindle/Theo-to-Start/98/27821

Posted by: crosbyisajoke | April 19, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

It's a choice between two decent goalies with neither really being great ever. Varly still has a chance to get there, maybe, but surely is not now. The reason I lean toward Varly starting is he is bigger and takes more of the net away by default and Theo just came off of a bad game and would be thrown into a pressure cooker in Montreal. The first goal against Theo was absolutely his fault whether the puck dipped or not. It was from a far enough distance and had little steam on it - focus! Varly played ok, but he gave up one two deflection goal and 3 others right in front of the net. Easier to argue he let in no soft goals. The D has got to wake up. Hate to say it, but we are still a crease clearing solid defensemen from winning the cup IMHO.

Posted by: rphilli721 | April 19, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

hindle's report is old.

Posted by: doughless | April 19, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Big Big Mistake...What this move means is that Gabby is blaming one player for a lack-luster effort from the entire team. When a coach pulls a goalie early, it's almost always a message to the team's poor performance and not specifically at the goalie who's having a tough time. I'm not sure that Green,Shultz and the other stooges are going to get the message with Theo riding the pine game 3.

Posted by: gerse | April 19, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

On a bit of a side note - it's the most important time of the year and you want me to watch these two yahoos opining on the the matter? Wouldn't Corey Masisak be a better option?

Posted by: TCJR2000 | April 19, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Good post TCJR.

Corey knows his stuff, not because it's the cool think to write about (like that tool Mike Wise or Wilbon), but because he's a hockey fan. Would rather hear Corey or Tarik any day before Wise.

On a side note. I've been really impressed by the hockey analysis Alan May provided for Comcast.

Posted by: jake81 | April 19, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

SOOOOOO i'm glad i wasted 5 minutes of my life to listen to the insight of Mr. Hockey, Mike Wise. really impressed by Wa-Po's ability to share to us their hockey knowledge as opposed to guys that have no idea about hockey (Beninati, Locker, Kolbe). Instead, we get the genius of Wise (and Bor(-ing)), who grew up around the game in the tundra-like ice ponds of Hawaii and Southern California.

BRILLIANT!

Posted by: kman2 | April 19, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

worse talking hockey - Wise or Lavar?

Posted by: capsfansince74 | April 19, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

OK then.

Some of us--myself included--find Mike Wise's writing to be engaging and funny. Those of you familiar with my own postings on this and related blogs will surely unbderstand why. He has a flair for the alliterative, and I recognize that (in his own unique way) he really is trying hard to reach out to those who call themselves "true fans".

On the otherside are those who may find him insulting, unschooled and just wish he would go away. I find it ironic that many of those who bemoan the apparent "All-Redskins-All-The-TIme" mindset of the local sports media and clamor for more Caps coverage in WaPo, are among the loudest voices in criticism of Mike Wise.


So now he says that Theo should start in net tonight. Without going into whether or not this is a good idea, this is a gutsy gamble on Mike's part, and here's why:

--If Varly starts and loses, Wise is partially vindicated and maybe earns some grudging respect from hard-core fans.
--If Varly starts and wins, Wise loses some of what little "ice cred" he has thus far amassed.
--If Theo starts and wins, Wise is seen as a prophet, and his stock as a hockey commentator will go way, way up.
--If Theo starts and loses, Wise may lose all hockey credibility, abruptly finding himself in the Eklund Zone ("DAAAAAAAAA-Dut-Dut-Dut-Dut-Dut-Dut-DAH!"), from whence he might never return.

Sounds like a Zero-Sum game to me.

Regardless of whether Wise is right or wrong in his analysis, one thing is clear:

This pair of games in Montreal will--IMHO--be the tipping point of this series. The Caps must not lose both, and we would all of course prefer that they win both.

Regardless of who is in net.


'Nuff Said!

Posted by: Rhino40 | April 19, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

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