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Boudreau Keeps His Secret

If Theodore's Starting Today, Caps Coach Won't Quite Say

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Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, April 18, 2009

For a second straight day, Washington Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau declined to divulge which goaltender he intends to start, preferring instead to keep the New York Rangers guessing.

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These are, after all, the NHL playoffs, where injuries and lineups are treated as top-secret information.

But for the first time since José Theodore yielded four goals on 21 shots in the Capitals' Game 1 defeat on Wednesday, Boudreau seemed to tip his hand before backing off.

"You'll see [the starter] in the warmup," said Boudreau, who during the regular season regularly declined to name his starting goaltender. "But look it; it's not a big surprise. Theo is our number one goalie."

Asked if that meant it was "safe to assume" Theodore will start instead of rookie Simeon Varlamov, Boudreau retreated slightly: "Assume what you want to assume. But I'm not saying anything. I will think [New York goalie Henrik] Lundqvist is playing, though."

Theodore, meantime, said he's preparing as if he'll be between the pipes this afternoon at Verizon Center, where the Capitals will aim to improve to 4-0 all-time when losing Game 1 at home.

"Everything is just like usual," said Theodore, who has yielded 10 goals on the past 62 shots he has faced. "There's not much to talk about right now. He didn't say anything, but I'm assuming that I'm in."

One Capital who almost certainly won't play is defenseman Jeff Schultz. He did not practice for a second day in a row after suffering an injury on Wednesday, possibly when he was checked along the boards in the third period. Later, Schultz stumbled and fell on the play that led to Brandon Dubinsky's game-winner. Schultz played one more shift before leaving the game with about six minutes remaining.

Team officials would not comment on Schultz's injury other than to say that he's day-to-day. "We're hoping he makes a rapid recovery," Boudreau said. "We'll see."

Regardless of Schultz's status, Capitals defenseman Brian Pothier is expected to make his first postseason appearance since 2006 as a member of the Ottawa Senators. Pothier signed with Washington in July 2006 but missed the second half of last season and all but nine games this season while recovering from post-concussion syndrome.

"He played well for us down the stretch," Boudreau said. "I have no qualms about putting him in. I told him right after [Wednesday's] game, the next morning, that he was going to play."

Pothier's speed and agility could help the Capitals in an area where they struggled in Game 1: containing the Rangers' cadre of small and shifty forwards such as Dubinsky, Scott Gomez and Ryan Callahan. Gomez added a goal and two assists to Dubinsky's decisive tally.

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