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Theodore or Varmalov? Capitals coach hasn't decided on goalie for Game 3

ARLINGTON, Va. - The morning after a thrilling comeback victory and a goaltender switch, Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau was still undecided on his goalie for Game 3 of the first-round playoff series in Montreal on Monday.

In Saturday's 6-5 overtime win over the Canadiens, Boudreau pulled Jose Theodore just 7:58 into the game after he allowed the first two Montreal shots to go in.

Semyon Varmalov relieved Theodore, and after the Capitals fell behind 4-1 in the second period, they rallied to tie the game before Nicklas Backstrom won it 31 seconds into overtime.

"I'm sure we're still going to use both goalies," Boudreau said. "Whether (Varlamov) plays Monday or (Theodore) plays Monday I think they're both going to play again."

Boudreau had selected Theodore to be his playoff goalie, but after an overtime loss in Thursday's Game 1 and two quick goals Saturday, he was replaced.

"That's a pretty deflating goal when you're coming out and you're all excited about playing and then the first shot goes in. And then the next shot they get goes in. So that's why I made the change," Boudreau said.

Theodore, a former league MVP, ended the regular season on a club-record 23-game streak without a regulation loss (20-0-3), but Boudreau has been known to change goalies.

A year ago, he benched Theodore after just one game in the playoffs and replaced him with playoff neophyte Varlamov, who anchored the Capitals until a Game 7 loss in the second round.

"I think it's the first time I do get pulled after two goals," Theodore said on Sunday. "It's in the playoffs. Sometimes you want to do things to change the momentum."

After Varmalov skated on to replace him, Theodore slammed his stick when he reached the Capitals' bench.

"I don't think I played long enough to say I played bad. I was there for 10 minutes."

Actually, Theodore didn't even play eight minutes.

"One thing about Theo is last year and this year, he can put that stuff behind him and come out and play great, and we're going to ask him to play great again," Boudreau said.

Varmalov, who speaks limited English, wasn't available for comment on Sunday.

After the game on Saturday, he spoke through a translator.

"I was surprised. It's not often you see a goalie pulled after two goals. Obviously, I wasn't going to argue with it. They told me to go play ? and I went and played," Varmalov said. "I don't want to make any predictions for the next game."



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