"I talked to Jose last week and he knew he was going to be the starter and he's earned it," Boudreau said at the team's practice facility in Arlington, Va., on Tuesday. "It's quite a different situation than it was last year. He's been our guy."
Theodore hasn't lost in regulation since Jan. 13, a 23-game span that made him the clear No. 1 over Semyon Varlamov for the top-seeded Capitals. Still, that hasn't impressed the eighth-seeded Montreal Canadiens forward Tomas Plekanec.
"It's not as though we are facing (Martin) Brodeur or (Ryan) Miller," Plekanec told La Presse. "They don't have a dominant goaltender. When you look at the goaltending matchup in this series it favors our team. I just believe that our goaltending is more solid than theirs."
Game 1 of the first-round series begins at Verizon Center on Thursday night and Boudreau said he'd take Theodore in net over either Brodeur and Miller. Boudreau also said Theodore won't have as short of a leash as last year, when he lost his starting job to Varlamov after the first game of the playoffs.
"He's the guy and we are going to go with and we'll see how it goes," Boudreau said.
Backstrom led the Caps in assists (68) and was second in points to Ovechkin with 101.