There may be a variety of reasons for the Washington Capitals' six-game losing streak, but goaltending is not chief among them, at least not according to Coach Bruce Boudreau, who vigorously defended Michal Neuvirth and Semyon Varlamov today after practice when questioned about local and national media reports suggesting an upgrade at the position was necessary.
"I'll tell them the same thing: We've got two great young goaltenders," he said during a heavily attended media session at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. "Not good, but great young goaltenders. We're not going after anybody else."
In Washington's 7-0 loss to the New York Rangers on Sunday at Madison Square Garden, Varlamov faced just 20 shots in the Capitals' most lopsided and embarrassing defeat of the season. Varlamov remained in the game because Neuvirth became ill before faceoff.
The Capitals have been outscored 23-8 since the slide began Dec. 2 with a 2-1 loss to the Dallas Stars, and while goaltending isn't solely to blame, it has been spotty in stretches this month. For the season, Neuvirth is 12-5-2 with a 2.68 goals against average, and Varlamov is 4-4 with a 2.62 GAA.
"Like young guys every now and again, they have a hiccup, but our guys are going to be there when it's all done," Boudreau said. "They've beaten the best, and they will beat the best again, and we have all the belief and faith in the world in both of them."