PITTSBURGH | Tomas Vokoun was the first person to admit his Capitals debut was “ugly.” The stats, including five goals on 28 shots, might not do it justice.
But he seems more than ready for a bounce-back performance against the Penguins.
“Through your career you’re going to get thrown every possible obstacle there is,” he said Wednesday. “As a goalie in a sense you’ve got to have a short memory. What happened yesterday, it’s done – you can’t do anything about it. Today is brand-new day.”
Vokoun is the Caps’ starter at Consol Energy Center almost by default, given Michal Neuvirth’s lower-body injury. The team recalled Braden Holtby from Hershey, but this is Vokoun’s chance to again show why he was handed the starting role back in July.
And he certainly doesn’t want Monday – even though it was a 6-5 shootout victory – being the most recent memory of him.
“You’re only as good as your last game,” he said. “For me it’s just another stepping stone. Obviously I’m glad we won the game; it made it so much easier for me to recoup from a performance like that. That’s pretty much where I stand right now.”
Bruce Boudreau took some heat from Vokoun’s agent, Allan Walsh, for not starting Vokoun on opening night. But in comments Wednesday and Thursday, the Caps’ coach made it clear he respects the 35-year-old and doesn’t think any less of him after one bad game.
Boudreau related Monday to a great hitter striking out four times in a baseball game or a great pitcher getting yanked after one inning.
“Whether he would’ve let 30 goals in, we know how good a goalie he is,” Boudreau said. “He’s a tremendous goaltender. And never once lost faith in him, and he’s going to be tremendous for us this year.”
Asked about the need for a quick return to form against the Penguins, Boudreau again spoke to Vokoun’s ability to have a “short memory.”
“I’ve watched a lot of goalies in the past and whether they’re having good games or bad games when a goal is scored they just take the water bottle and take a drink,” he said. “I think that’s like water off a duck’s back – the game’s over, let’s get on to the next game. I don’t think he’s thinking about the last game.”