The Blueshirts' Game 1 win changed the dynamics in this series in a major way. Now we've got coaches John Tortorella and Bruce Boudreau in a little war of words over the Capitals' faceoff techniques. Now we've got smooth skating Brian Pothier in the lineup over the bigger Jeff Schultz, as Schultz's ankles heal following Brandon Dubinsky shattering them for the game-winning goal. Now we have Captain Chris Drury back in the Rangers' lineup with his team leading in the series.
But most of all, we have the gamble of the playoffs thus far and we're only in Game 2: Boudreau has decided to start rookie Simeon Varlamov in place of Jose Theodore this afternoon, in an absolutely stunning move. It's just been confirmed by NBC.
Desperation? Panic by a second-year head coach? Or the realization that the Capitals are in trouble against this Rangers team, and need a humungous kick in the backside?
We'll see how it plays out at the final buzzer. But it's inconceivable how a veteran goalie pulled for a rookie playoff virgin in Game 2 -- with a trip to MSG looming in Game 3 --comes back to make a difference in this postseason. If the Capitals are to win the Stanley Cup this season, Simeon Varlamov is going to have to be the Russian Cam Ward.
UPDATE: Polling the last row of the upper deck, Capitals fans approve. The ovation for Varly as the starting lineups were announced confirms it.
- Bruce Boudreau
- John Tortorella