Varlamov replaces Theodore in goal

Updated: April 18, 2009, 1:33 PM ET
By Pierre LeBrun | ESPN.com

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Washington Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau provided the first big bit of drama of the NHL playoffs Saturday, deciding to start 20-year-old rookie netminder Simeon Varlamov in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series with the New York Rangers.

Caps GM George McPhee confirmed to ESPN.com during warm-up that Varlamov was starting.

Boudreau had hinted strongly Friday that he would return to veteran Jose Theodore but in the true tradition of the NHL playoffs, that was obviously a piece of gamesmanship to keep the media and more importantly the Rangers in the dark.

Varlamov has all of 329 minutes of NHL experience under his belt, going 4-0-1 in six appearances this season, sporting a 2.37 goal-against-average and .918 save percentage -- excellent numbers.

Theodore gave up four goals on 21 shots in a 4-3 Game 1 loss Wednesday night and was largely blamed for blowing a game the Caps dominated.

Rangers captain Chris Drury returned to the lineup after missing two games with an undisclosed injury. Aaron Voros was a healthy scratch for the Rangers.

Forwards Donald Brashear and Chris Clark were healthy scratches for Washington as well as defenseman Jeff Schultz, with Brian Pothier replacing him.

Pierre LeBrun covers the NHL for ESPN.com.

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