Player of the Week – Jan. 3

The Hockey News player of the week for the period of Dec. 27-Jan. 2 is Washington Capitals goaltender Semyon Varlamov.

In two games on the week, Varlamov stopped 57 of 58 shots for two wins.

In the first game against Montreal, the Russian faced rubber 25 times and turn it aside each time. The shutout was Varlamov’s second on the season.

Four nights later, Varlamov and the Capitals took on the Pittsburgh Penguins at Heinz Field for the 2011 Winter Classic. The game was pushed back from an afternoon start to a nightcap and Varlamov battled wet conditions and stopped 32 of 33 shots to lift Washington to a 3-1 win. The win was Varlamov’s third in a row.

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After missing most of the first two months of the season due to injury, Varlamov has been trying to earn back the undisputed No. 1 job with the Capitals. He stands with a 7-4-1 record, 2.18 GAA and .923 SP in 13 games.

The Capitals are 23-12-5 through 40 games and are tied for first in the Southeast Division with Tampa Bay at 51 points.