So much has been discussed about the Capitals’ young goaltenders, Michal Neuvirth, Semyon Varlamov and Braden Holtby. Who would stay healthy? Who would emerge as the go-to starter?
Well, what if the Capitals were to use multiple goaltenders — presumably Neuvirth and Varlamov if they remain healthy — in the postseason? Coach Bruce Boudreau said Wednesday that looks like a definite possibility.
“I think, if you look at the way the season and their careers have gone, that neither one has played 20 games in a row,.you’re probably looking more at winning by committee than anything else,” Boudreau said. “If one goalie gets extremely hot, you’re not going to take him out of the lineup. But in our situation here we’ve seen, I think, five in a row the maximum that either one has played all year.”
Boudreau was close. The most games Varlamov has played consecutively this season is five, a stretch from Dec. 26 to Jan. 8, but Neuvirth has played six in a row (when only counting games that he started and finished) from Feb. 21 to March 6. In the 2009 Calder Cup playoffs, Neuvirth played all 22 of Hershey’s games en route to a championship and in 2010 he played in 18 of 21 postseason games for the Bears.
All of that said, Boudreau’s point is well taken. The Capitals may very well need more than one goaltender to help prolong their playoff run, and in the long run, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
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