Varlamov Can't Put Out Every Fire

Young goalie needs help from his experienced teammates

From Ovie the Great's ode to the 'Guins for sucking, to Pittsburgh media being miffed with illusions of entitlement, to exchanges between coaches, to tears from Sid The Skid Crosby, much has occurred to fuel the boiling blood of Steel City. Unfortunately for the Caps, they forgot to dump coal on their own engine, losing to the Penguins 3-2 in overtime Wednesday night.

The Capitals lacked crispness, turning the puck over an unacceptable amount of times. And the defense had little answers for the aggressiveness of Pittsburgh -- goalie Simeon Varlamov being the exception of course.

Varlamov showed worthy of winning fireman of the year, extinguishing 39 of the 42 blazing pucks sent his way. But without help from the whole department, the Caps were burned in Game 3. The young Russian can't put out all the flames, his hose ain't that big.

After his endurance of mad scrambles, unbelievable reaction time, stonewalling of all power plays except one, and splashes of luck, no one will blame Varlamov for giving up three goals. He was playing to survive, and as coach Bruce Boudreau said, the rest of them were "playing not to lose."

Boudreau also thought Pittsburgh should have been whistled for more than four minutes of penalties, in contrast to the Caps, who tallied 14 minutes in the sin bin. But there aren't many excuses. "Can't afford to give them 5 PPs every game," was number two of the Caps' locker room keys to victory.

Still up 2-1 in the series, the Capitals are a team that can easily make adjustments in attitude, attacking more amidst the white-out in Pittsburgh on Friday. But if they want the series to end like the sad march of the penguins, the Caps can't depend on their net-minder. Ovie & Co. will have to play like pied pipers leading Sid the Kid's crew, never to be heard from again.

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