When Bruce Boudreau got the interim head coaching job with the 6-14-1 Capitals in November 2007, his chances of holding on to the job were predicated on two objectives: developing the young talent and winning as many games as possible. The Caps won 11 of 12 to end the season to make the playoffs by two points and win Boudreau the Jack Adams. He entered the league with no job security and before he had a training camp his team needed to end the season on a seven game win streak to make the playoffs. So when he says he’s going to start the guy who he thinks gives the Caps the best chance of winning, you’ve got to take him at his word. I have to admit I thought Boudreau would go back to Theodore, but that’s why he’s one of the top coaches in the league and I am a dumbass.
Varlamov kept the game tied after a first period in which the Habs outshot the Caps 10-7, the second period this series where Monreal has done so (the second period of game one), and in the second period the floodgates opened. Boudreau’s other significant lineup changes included dropping Laich to the third line and going with Gordon and Bradley on the grit line instead of Steckel and Walker. So Gordon went 13-2 in faceoffs, Gordon and Bradley scored the game’s first and last goals, respectively, and Laich scored and had a primary assist in between. With the Capitals having now outscored the Canadians 10-2 over the last 82:08 of game time, Boudreau has released the Kraken.
Boudreau went to Varlamov in game two of the playoffs last year so Theodore’s three month unbeaten streak bought him eight more minutes of leash. I cannot think of another example of a coach switching from a veteran to a rookie in the playoffs consecutive years at the sports’ most important position, basically after the first game both times. And both times it turned out to be the right call. It almost seems like it’s either part of some master plan to get Varlamov playing his best hockey in the playoffs or that Boudreau is just messing with Theodore.
About the Author
Written by Ryan Cleaver
Ryan Cleaver was born in Björk’s house in Iceland and grew up on Easter Island, where his parents were giant stone heads. He has the ability to fire beams of tacos out of his hands and he can turn his legs into tigers. On Sundays, Ryan enjoys reading Family Circus and traveling through time. His favorite color is greenish-transparent and his favorite movie is the one you just watched.