- The Washington Times - Friday, April 17, 2009

Jose Theodore spent parts of 10 seasons with the Montreal Canadiens, including four trips to the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Considering his past experiences in the hockey-mad province of Quebec, it probably wasn’t a big deal that a handful of reporters flocked to his stall in the Washington Capitals’ dressing room a day after his subpar performance helped put his team in a 1-0 hole in its Eastern Conference quarterfinal against the New York Rangers.

“It is the playoffs. Every game is a different story,” Theodore said. “[In 2004] we were down 2-0 in Boston [before rallying to win]. It is all about the momentum. The story changes so quickly. You get down one game and the goalie was shaky - which was the case [Wednesday] - and then there is another game, and it is a different story. [The [JUMP]media] change your story again. That’s the playoffs. You live one game at a time, and you play one game at a time. We might see on Sunday that it is a totally different story.”

For that to happen, Theodore will have to rebound after yielding four goals on 21 shots in his first playoff game with Washington. The Rangers didn’t produce many great scoring opportunities, but they took advantage of them.

One key for Theodore about his performance was his positioning. He conceded that two of New York’s four goals were a result of him not being far enough out of his crease to cut down the shooter’s angle.

“I don’t want to get into the technical part but just being able to challenge more,” Theodore said. “I am the kind of guy who likes to come out of my crease and challenge shooters. [In Game 1] I thought I was a little passive - I wasn’t challenging like I can.”

Theodore is the biggest addition to the lineup from last season, when the Caps lost in the first round to Philadelphia in seven games. His postseason track record as a No. 1 goalie includes four first-round victories but also four second-round flameouts.

Combine that with Theodore’s inconsistent play, especially early in this season, and he could be a potential pitfall for the Caps.

“I have the utmost confidence in Jose,” forward Matt Bradley said. “A lot of those goals were scored by good players, so as far the goalie situation, I don’t think there is anything to talk about. He’s our No. 1 guy, he’s been great for us all year and he’s going to do great for us in these playoffs.

“He’s been through a lot worse than this. He’s a veteran guy, and he knows what it is all about. People try to stir things up that aren’t there, but in this room we all have confidence in him. It is a nonissue for us.”

Whether Theodore has the chance to prove Game 1 was a fluke remains a question. Caps coach Bruce Boudreau was asked whether he had told his goalies who would be in net Saturday afternoon after practice Thursday, and the bench boss was in full-blown playoff mode.

“No, and [the media] won’t find out,” Boudreau said. “[The media] won’t know.”

When pressed on the matter, Boudreau responded: “Jose is my guy, OK. I am playing [around] because you guys are asking and I’m not divulging. [Alex Ovechkin], I don’t know if he’s going to play, too. What I am trying to say is I’m not giving you any part of the lineup at all.”

While Boudreau wasn’t budging about confirming Theodore or rookie Simeon Varlamov as his starter, Theodore isn’t expecting a change.

“It is the first game - I don’t really know what you are referring to,” Theodore said. “It is 1-0 in the series. I’ve been down 3-1 in a series and came back and won. I think you’re jumping the gun a bit when the team is down 1-0.”

For the rest of the Caps, the prognosis for Game 2 might just be more of the same. Unlike last season, when Washington didn’t play well in Game 1 but stole a victory late against Philadelphia, the Caps were satisfied with their play on most fronts against the Rangers.

Aside from a couple of individual breakdowns and a stretch of uneven play in the second period that led to penalties, the Caps were the better team for much of the night.

“I am really surprised that the sun did come up,” Boudreau said, jokingly. “We are still fine. We know they are going to play better on Saturday. We know they are a good team. We also know how we’re capable of playing, and it is a loss in the loss column, but it was still, with seven minutes to go, a tied game. It is not like it was a 5-1 game and we were outclassed and we weren’t ready. We were ready and we did a lot of good things, and we want to build on those things.”

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