[Intrepid Russian reporter Slava Malamud with Sport-Express caught up with Alexander Ovechkin and Simeon (pronounced Sem-YON btw) Varlamov after the heartbreaking loss in game two.]
Varlamov: "Theodore told me that I could do this"
The debut of Washington goaltender Simeon Varlamov in the Stanley Cup playoffs turned out unsuccessful. His team lost at home to the Rangers 0:1 and are now 0-2 in the series. After the game, the 20 year old Russian talked with Sport Express correspondent Slava Malamud.
When did you know that you were going to play?
"I can't say." (smiling)
What did you think of your first NHL playoff game?
"First, the game was extremely critical, and we absolutely had to win it. We're now 0-2 in the series and it will be very difficult for us to play them on their home ice. But we are ready."
There was a delay at the start of the game. Did that bother you?
"Yeah, it was a little irritating. There was a little problem with the net. It wasn't set in place properly and because of that it was loose."
Were you really nervous?
"I was before the game, of course. That's normal for a goaltender. But I was a lot more nervous than this before my first NHL game in Montreal."
Were you happy with your game and with the defense? Do you think you should be in net in the future?
"It's no secret that I want to play. Since I was a kid I've dreamed about playing in the NHL. I think that we played well in defense and offense. We just couldn't score. And Lundqvist played really well."
What can you say about the goal you allowed?
"The player played it really well shooting at the net. I didn't have a chance to catch the puck, since he put it right in the top corner."
Did Theodore talk with you before the game?
"Yeah, after warm-ups he came over to me and said that he played his first game when he was 20, in Montreal. He encouraged me, saying it was no big deal, that I could do this."
Did you hear how the fans greeted you?
"Yeah, that was unbelievable! I didn't expect them to give me that kind of greeting!"
Ovechkin: "This is war. You have to fight"
Following Washington's 0:1 loss to the Rangers in the second game of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, Washington forward Alexander Ovechkin (who made six shots on goal during the game) answered a few questions from Sport-Express correspondent Slava Malamud.
"Once again we had a lot of opportunities, but Lundqvist played extremely well, especially in the third period"- said Ovechkin after the game. "But we still have a chance to pull this out. It's going to be difficult to do in New York, but the only thing we need to do is score goals, and that's it."
Is your team in shock? Astounded?
"No. Last year we were down 1-3 in the series and we were able to take it to overtime in the seventh game. We just haven't been able to score, and that's all there is to it. I don't know, maybe we just need to be more resourceful on the attack. After the game the coach reminded us about Carolina in 2006. So we're not going to give up, and we'll hold our heads high. This is war. You have to fight."
Do you think you were playing too much of a physical game, especially in the second period, when you attacked the net much less frequently?
"This is the playoffs. We had a lot of chances to score. Semin gave me a pass and I hit the bar. Backstrom didn't score. Kozlov shot at an empty net and missed. We have to capitalize on those opportunities."
After the first game a lot of people blamed the goaltender. What can you point the finger at this time?
"Well why do you have to blame any one person? We ourselves are the reason for our defeat. We didn't score, and that's it in a nutshell."
How would you rate yourself?
"I'm doing everything but putting the puck in the net."
Doesn't it seem like the Rangers have figured you out?
"Watch and see what happens in the next game."
What can you see about Varlamov's game?
"He played well, he didn't make any errors. What can you say? He looked good. The only bad thing is that we lost."