Right now Michal Neuvirth looks like “the guy” for the Capitals. When they open up the playoffs against the Rangers, Canadiens, Sabres or Hurricanes next Wednesday or Thursday, Neuvirth will very likely be in net.
But that doesn’t mean Semyon Varlamov won’t be close behind.
“We can put one of three guys in and I know we’re gonna get a good game,” coach Bruce Boudreau said, adding Braden Holtby to the mix. “It may not happen, but that’s the way I feel.”
Wednesday night at Verizon Center provided a sure-fire example of why everyone around the Caps is confident in rolling with multiple goalies. Varlamov made 31 saves and was the first star of the game in the 5-2 victory over the Panthers.
“He kept us in it in the first period,” Boudreau said. “If it wasn’t for Varly, it probably would’ve been 3-1 up them. We would’ve had to extend an awful lot of energy to come back.”
Varlamov made a lot of saves in the opening period as the Panthers tried desperately to respond from a two-goal deficit.
“We gave up way too many opportunities, but we had Varly in net and he did a great job keeping us in the game,” forward Matt Hendricks said. “After that, I think we took over and controlled it.”
But all the while, Varlamov was solid. He gave up a couple late goals, but that was more a product of the Caps cruising along than his own poor play.
He won’t be the playoff starter, but he’ll still likely see action this spring. And the Caps are more than OK with that.