The Washington Times - March 25, 2011, 12:52PM

OTTAWA – Semyon Varlamov will get his chance to enter the Capitals’ goalie derby for real … and it’s coming a night early.

Illness to Michal Neuvirth pressed Varlamov into action Friday at the Senators. It’s uncertain whether Neuvirth will be able to go Saturday in Montreal, though the Bears scratched Braden Holtby Friday night possibly having him on standby to join the Caps, according to spokesman and radio guy John Walton.


As for Friday night in Ottawa, it’s Varlamov’s crease, something that was evident just when the Russian led the team onto the ice for warm-ups.

Earlier in the day, Varlamov said he’s “100 percent” and feeling good.

“It’s never great to miss some time, but I’m just trying to stay positive,” Varlamov said through a team interpreter. “I’m just glad I’m back and ready to play.”

It’s Varlamov’s first game action since Feb. 20.

The rest of the season, including Saturday night, is up in the air. The 22-year-old Russian said through team spokesman Sergey Kocharov that he didn’t know what the plan was in terms of games played.

“No, we just kinda take it day by day but he said maybe I’ll play in Montreal and from then on we’ll take it day by day and see how it goes,” he said.