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Pick 'Em: Playoff Starting Goaltender

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<em>Photo via <a href="http://www.capssnaps.com/2011/01/capitals-vs-canucks-114/">CapsSnaps.com</a></em>
Photo via CapsSnaps.com

If there are two things Washington, D.C. is known for, it's politics and quarterback controversies. This winter, Caps fans were treated to a mild version of the intersection of the two, as rookie netminder Michal Neuvirth and incumbent starter Semyon Varlamov engaged in a season-long campaign to be named the team's starting goalie come playoff time. Heck, there was even a very spirited third-party candidate in Braden Holtby who, despite his credentials, ultimately couldn't break through the entrenched establishment.

Team Neuvy. Team Varly. You've read everything there is to read about these two. You know that Neuvirth has been a bit inconsistent and has struggled a bit against top competition, but has flat-out won when it has mattered (though he hasn't had a chance to yet at the NHL level). You know that Varlamov hasn't been able to stay healthy, hasn't gotten much support when he has been able to go, and has lost four-straight games when the Caps have had a chance to eliminate a playoff opponent.

Here's how they compare on the season, over each backstop's last twenty and ten games, and since Varlamov most recently came off injured reserve:


2010-11 Season GP MIN W L O GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
Neuvirth 47 2631 27 11 4 109 2.49 1260 1151 .913 4
Varlamov 27 1560 11 9 5 58 2.23 759 701 .924 2


Last 20 Games GP MIN W L O GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
Neuvirth 20 1114
13
5
0
43
2.32 525
482
.918 3
Varlamov 20 1155 7
7
5
45
2.34 563
518
.920 1


Last 10 Games GP MIN W L O GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
Neuvirth 10 577 8
1 0
22
2.29 280 258 .921 1
Varlamov 10
549
3
3
3
21
2.30 257 236
.918 0


Since 3/21
GP MIN W L O GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
Neuvirth 4
255 4
0
0
13 3.06 115 102 .887 0
Varlamov 3
184 1
1
1 6
1.96 82
76 .927 0

So the question is simple, even if the answer isn't: if you were Bruce Boudreau, who would you start in Game 1 of the playoffs next week?