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Capitals goaltender Tomas Vokoun eager to find groove

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Goaltending hasn’t been No. 1 problem for the Washington Capitals among a sea of issues. Still, it’s one of them, and Tomas Vokoun knows it.

Vokoun, who’s 10-6-0 with a 2.77 goals-against average and .906 save percentage, has been hard on himself recently as the losing has continued.

“It’s not where I want to be. But it’s not my statistics or the win-loss record – it’s not terrible, either,” Vokoun said Thursday. “You have to keep things in perspective and things didn’t go well, and I didn’t play good [up to] my standards.”

Vokoun was set to start Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins, so he’ll play in back-to-back games as Michal Neuvirth (2-4-1, 3.81, .868) sits. This is an opportunity for the 35-year-old to find a bit of a groove.

“It’s nice to get two starts in a row. It’s all performance-based,” Vokoun said. “It hasn’t been easy around here for some time, but not everything’s bad.”

Coach Dale Hunter expects only the best from Vokoun but understands the veteran goaltender can’t be ridden too hard.

“I think a hot hand, whoever’s hot has to play and get the majority,” Hunter said. “With the schedule the way it is, you’ve still got to play both goalies because of the schedule.”

For Vokoun, the numbers aren’t great, but goaltending coach Dave Prior said recently that team losing contributes to a goalie thinking he’s playing worse than he actually is.

“You’re a little more edgy. Sometimes goaltenders think they didn’t perform as well, and when you look at the video and show it to them, they were better than they thought,” Prior said. “What you experience in your head sometimes out there isn’t the same as what you’re actually accomplishing.”

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