With Michal Neuvirth sick and Semyon Varlamov returning to game action for the first time in a month last night against the Senators, the Capitals opted to call up Braden Holtby from the Hershey Bears this morning. The 21-year-old Saskatchewan native will get the start tonight in Montreal.
Coach Bruce Boudreau said that Varlamov made it through Friday’s 2-0 loss to the Senators healthy, but they just didn’t want to make the 22-year-old Russian strain himself with back-to-back games after the long layoff. Varlamov missed 11 games with a knee injury prior to making his return.
“Neuvy’s sick, and we didn’t think it was fair to make Varly play back-to-back games when he hadn’t played in a month. It just made sense to call Holtby up,” Boudreau said. “He didn’t play last night and [Hershey’s game against the Adirondack Phantoms Friday] is only three hours from here so it was an easy decision.”
Boudreau made it clear though that Varlamov is healthy.
“We don’t want to put him in a bad situation,” Boudreau said. “When you haven’t played in a month, at a point in the season where there wasn’t a ton of practicing, the last thing you want him to do is overextend himself. That’s what our thoughts were.”
The move gives Holtby his second consecutive start in Montreal, which was where he made his last appearance with the Capitals, on March 15. Holtby made 24 saves in a 4-2 win over the Canadiens that game.
--In other news, Eric Fehr will return to the lineup for tonight’s game. Boudreau said the reason the right wing was scratched in Ottawa was precautionary so that Fehr wouldn’t have to play in back-to-back contests coming off of his latest shoulder injury.