The Washington Capitals have alternated between healthy goaltenders all season. Michal Neuvirth and Semyon Varlamov have each had moments of brilliance in 2010, but neither has been able to establish a firm grip on the permanent starting role. Instead, Bruce Boudreau has been tending to go with whichever of his young goaltenders has the hotter hand at the moment.
It appears that will be the case as well for Saturday's Winter Classic. Boudreau has been expectedly tight-lipped about who his starter will be, but Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post has learned that Varlamov will get the start in net.
Varlamov is coming off a 3-0 shutout victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday, his second of the season. Varlamov's 6-4-1 record might not be as shiny as Neuvirth's 14-6-3, but Varlamov has the edge in goals against average, and now has one more shutout than the rookie.
Boudreau is putting his confidence in Varlamov in the most important regular season game of the year. If his choice pays off, Varlamov could take advantage and use the opportunity to prove that he should be the starter for the duration.