The Washington Times - December 17, 2011, 03:19PM

DENVER | Semyon Varlamov would have liked to face his former team on Saturday night, but the young Colorado Avalanche goaltender will be stuck with backup duty instead.

It’ll be Jean-Sebastien Giguere in net against the Washington Capitals, something coach Joe Sacco said was the result of an injury to Varlamov.

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Varly’s dealing with a minor back injury right now,” Sacco said. “It happened last game against San Jose – it flared up during the game last game. He’s available to back up tonight, but we’re going to go with Giggy.”

Varlamov allowed five goals on 34 shots Thursday night in Colorado’s 5-4 loss to the San Jose Sharks. Saturday before Sacco spoke to reporters, the 23-year-old admitted he was a little upset not to get the nod against the Caps but made no reference to being hurt.

Yeah, a little bit [disappointed],” Varlamov said. “I will be backup today and I’m always ready to go on ice and play my game.”

Injuries limited Varlamov to just 27 games for the Caps last season. He has already started 24 for the Avalanche.

A few Caps players have some impressive numbers in their careers against Giguere: Alex Ovechkin has scored seven goals in five games, Alexander Semin three goals in two games and Mike Knuble six goals in seven games. It’s possible that facing the 34-year-old could help some Washington players, as the Caps have just two even-strength goals in the past three games.

Michal Neuvirth will start for the Caps.