Top 10 best games: Caps vs. Avalanche

Top 10 best games: Caps vs. Avalanche
August 15, 2013, 12:30 pm
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With single-game tickets now on sale, CSNWashington.com is counting down the top 10 must-see Capitals games in 2013-14 (the countdown includes both home and away games).

As colleague Brian McNally noted last week, the Capitals will host and visit every NHL team at least once  for the first time since 1997-98. 

Below is a look at the countdown so far:

GAME #10: MARCH 25, 2014 CAPITALS VS. LOS ANGELES KINGS 

GAME #9: FEBRUARY 8, 2014 CAPITALS VS. NEW JERSEY DEVILS

GAME #8: JANUARY 25, 2014 CAPITALS @ MONTREAL CANADIENS 

GAME #7: OCTOBER 12, 2013 CAPITALS VS COLORADO AVALANCHE 

It’s been more than two years since the Capitals traded goalie Semyon Varlamov to Colorado, but the first-round pick (23rd overall) from the 2006 NHL Draft still hasn’t faced his former team. That could change early next season when the Avalanche visit Verizon Center for the first time since 2010.

While this marks the first time that the Avalanche visit the District since the Varlamov trade was made, the teams did meet in Denver in Dec. 2011. That game was expected to feature former teammates Varlamov and Michal Neuvirth in opposing goals, but Varlamov was sidelined with a back injury and backup Jean-Sebastien Giguere started instead.

With Varlamov entering his third season in Colorado as the undisputed No.1 goalie, there is every reason to believe that barring injury, the 25-year-old will start in D.C. on Oct. 12.

It’s harder to predict who may start in goal for the Capitals that night, but a Neuvirth start (perhaps his first at home next season) would be intriguing.

Varlamov (23rd overall) and Neuvirth (34th overall) were taken 11 picks apart in the 2006 NHL Draft and together the netminders climbed the organizational depth chart.  They eventually shared the starting role in Washington in 2010-11 with Braden Holtby garnering a few NHL looks that season as injuries dictated. 

Despite the success Varlamov enjoyed in Washington (think back to his coming out part in the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs), his time with the Capitals also included a long list of injuries and threats that he would leave for the KHL.

 ST. PATRICK’S DAY

In two years with Colorado, Varlamov has posted a 37-45-6 record with seven shutouts and his last playoff appearance remains Game 7 of the 2010 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

While the playoffs may still be a few years away for the rebuilding Avalanche, the club is on the upswing with No.1 overall pick Nathan MacKinnon the latest to join a young group of forwards.

Varlamov though certainly has a solid support system with him in Denver. Giguere, 36, is back in Colorado as the backup this year, Hall of Fame goalie Patrick Roy in his first year as head coach and Roy’s former goaltending coach Francois Allaire has also been hired to work with Varlamov. 

Roy last played in D.C. on Oct. 17, 2000- an Avalanche win which at the time made Roy the NHL’s all-time wins leader (since passed by Martin Brodeur).