As we approach Game 3 of the NHL Playoff series between the #1 seed Washington Capitals and the #8 seed Montreal Canadians (the host for game 3), Bruce Boudreau – Head Coach for the Capitals – has an important decision to make when choosing who will play goaltender tonight, and most importantly for the remainder of the playoffs.

Although Jose Theodore was drafted by the Montreal Canadians in 1994 and played there for 8 seasons, he’s not likely to start tonight as the series shifts north of the border.  At least if it were my decision, he wouldn’t start tonight.  Theodore was in net for the game 1 loss to Montreal here in D.C., and he was also in goal as the Canadians exploded to a 4-1 lead in game 2, which Washington rallied to win in overtime.

Semyon Varlamov finds himself in a familiar role to last year’s playoffs, where he replaced Theodore in the second game of the first round series against the New York Rangers, helping the Capitals win that series in 7 games.  Starting off hot, Varly cooled off a bit in that series and then in the second round he didn’t have a single game where he let up less than 2 goals in a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, including 2 games of allowing 3 goals, 2 games of allowing 4 goals, a game where he allowed 5 goals and then in game 7 he allowed 6 goals to end the series – and the season for the Washington Capitals.

Although it doesn’t totally matter whether or not coach Bruce Boudreau goes with Semyon Varlamov or Jose Theodore tonight, he should be very cautious with the decision for each game throughout the rest of the playoffs.  Last year was a great example that a goalie can and SHOULD be switched out for someone else when they start to show signs of getting tired.  Who knows what would’ve happened last year if Theodore had the opportunity to go back in net for the Capitals.  If he’s pulled in favor of Varlamov for tonight’s game, I hope Boudreau gives him some thought as the playoffs continue, even if Semyon Varlamov catches fire and pulls off a string of shutouts.