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Theodore puts Game 2 hook behind him

by Dan Rosen
ARLINGTON, Va. -- Jose Theodore thinks if he was given a chance Saturday night he would have found his game and found a way to win. Theodore, though, also understands why Washington Capitals Bruce Boudreau made the switch to Semyon Varlamov not even halfway through the first period and he holds no grudges about it.

Theodore was yanked 7:58 into Game 2 after allowing two goals on just two shots. Washington did come back to win in overtime, 6-5, behind Varalmov's 19 saves. Boudreau said he has not decided on who will start Game 3 (Monday, 7 p.m. ET, TSN, RDS).

"We have one goal in mind here and that's to win," Theodore said Sunday. "Throughout the season sometimes I wanted to play and I didn't play, but we're all so close on this team and we know whatever the coach is going to do is best for the team. You don't want to be that guy to have a negative thought. I know I'm always ready to go."

Going off his words alone, it would appear that Boudreau already knows who he will start Monday night at Bell Centre. He said he didn't want to talk to anyone about it after Saturday's game, but one of the goalies will find out before the Caps land in Montreal later Sunday.

"I think we said before the series started if we are going to go anywhere we would probably have to use both goalies," Boudreau said. "I'm sure we're still going to use both goalies whether (Varlamov) plays Monday or Jose plays Monday. I think they are both going to play again. That's why we need to keep them sharp."

Boudreau said Theodore's professionalism makes his decision easier.

"I don't think he's a guy who is going to outwardly sulk," Boudreau said. "He's a professional and he'll work at it. His lows are followed by good highs and his highs are followed by lows and that's just been his nature."

Boudreau surprisingly turned to Varlamov for Game 2 against the New York Rangers in the first round last season after Theodore gave up four goals on 21 shots in a Game 1 loss. Theodore, though, said everything is different this time.

For one, he was 20-0-3 with a 2.58 goals-against average and .922 save percentage over the last three months of the regular season. He also was solid in making 35 saves in Game 1 despite the 3-2 overtime loss.

"For the last 25 games I've been pretty solid so my confidence, even with last game, it's right up there," Theodore said. "I'm just really confident right now. I don't think I played long enough (in Game 2) to say I played bad."

You wonder, though, if Theodore's history against the Canadiens will factor into Boudreau's decision.

Since leaving Montreal in 2006 after being the No. 1 there from 2000-05, including winning the Hart Trophy and Vezina Trophy in 2002, Theodore has been abysmal at Bell Centre.

He has given up 12 goals on 61 shots in 97 minutes over two appearances there for a .803 save percentage and 7.42 goals-against average. Overall in six appearances against Montreal he has allowed 20 goals on 162 shots for a .877 save percentage.

"It's the building I've had the most success in -- the most shutouts, the most first stars, the most wins," Theodore said, turning around a question about his recent failures at Bell Centre into an answer about what he's done over the course of his career there. "For me, it's a good building if you look at it that way. When I'm on the ice in that building I remember some good memories."

There's no doubt that if he plays he'll be hearing it from the crowd, which will likely be chanting "Tay-oh, Tay-oh, Tay-oh" all game long.

"Montreal's crowd was doing that when I played there to the other goalies, so I'm sure they're going to remember my name if I play," Theodore said, smiling. "I know they're going to try to distract me, but as a player you want to be in those situations. That's going to be a situation that is going to be fun to play in."

If, of course, he gets that opportunity. We'll know Monday.

"I'm feeling good and either way I'll be ready to go," Theodore said. "It'll be the coach's decision, but you always want to have the chance to get back in there and bounce back."

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