The Hockey News’ player of the week for April 20-26, 2009 is none other than 21-year-old Washington goaltender, Simeon Varlamov.
After an upset win by the New York Rangers in Game 1, in which Washington’s starting goaltender, Jose Theodore, allowed four goals, the young Russian, who played only five NHL games prior to the post-season, took over.
With the Caps going down 2-0 in the series on home ice, the young netminder had a lot riding on him heading to New York for a must-win situation.
But Varlamov, a first round draft pick (23rd overall) in 2006 who played most of the regular season in the American League, proved he was up for the challenge, going 3-1 in his past four games and posting two shutouts along the way.
His astonishing 1.25 goals-against average and .953 save percentage begs the question: Is Varlamov Washington’s saving grace? Only time will tell.
The Caps, who have solved Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist, have been revitalized and are looking to eliminate New York in Game 7 on Tuesday.