It’s been over two years since Washington traded Semyon Varlamov to Colorado but, thanks to a variety of developments, the opportunity to face his former club had never materialized.
Saturday night, that all changes.
Varlamov will face his ex-Caps mates for the first time — at the Verizon Center, no less — as the red-hot Avs (4-0-0) take on the struggling Caps (1-3-0).
“I have lots of memories with Washington. They gave me the chance to play in the NHL, you know? So this was a special team for me,” Varlamov told the Denver Post. “Yeah, probably, I will be a little bit nervous. But I’m so excited to be coming back and to play in the Verizon Center.”
Outside of maybe Jonathan Bernier, no young goalie is off to a better start than Varlamov. The Russian ‘tender is a perfect 3-0-0 to start the year, posting a 1.00 GAA and .967 save percentage.
Varlamov, 25, comes by that 1.00 GAA honestly. He’s allowed exactly one goal in each of his wins: a 2-1 over Toronto, 3-1 over Nashville and 6-1 over Anaheim in the season opener.
As for tonight, Varlamov will be facing former teammate Michal Neuvirth as the Czech goalie makes his first start of the year. Neuvirth’s only other appearance came in relief of Braden Holtby in a 5-4 shootout win over Calgary.
The matchup should provide some additional emotion for both parties. Varlamov and Neuvirth both battled for games and minutes during the 2009-10 campaign but it was Varlamov that won out, earning the starting gig for the playoffs after Jose Theodore faltered.