The Washington Times - October 24, 2011, 09:24AM

Ever since the first time Tomas Vokoun played a regular-season game for the Capitals, Bruce Boudreau has praised the veteran goaltender. There was his performance against the Penguins that kept the Caps in the game, his shutout of the Panthers and a whole lot more.

But Saturday night against the Red Wings, Vokoun had perhaps his best night with Washington by helping to shut down a star-studded Detroit attack. He finished with 32 saves on 33 shots, but the key was how many quality scoring chances the Red Wings had. Each time – with the exception of a near-impossible five-on-three situation, Vokoun was up to the task.

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I was lucky a couple times, honestly, too,” Vokoun said. “Some of those saves are desperation saves. Sometimes they go in and sometimes you’re just fortunate … [that] a guy is not able to lift the puck or something. But saying that, you battle and you work for your luck.”

Vokoun got a break early when Pavel Datsyuk hit teammate Danny Cleary’s skate. Had Datsyuk lifted his shot, the Caps likely would have found themselves in a hole. But the rest of the game, Vokoun turned aside Datsyuk from in tight, Nicklas Lidstrom from the point and a bunch of other Detroit chances.

The difference was our goalie was better than their goalie tonight,” Boudreau said. “He was great. He’s been great – ever since the 15-minute mark of the second game he’s been outstanding.”

Vokoun had played the Red Wings 35 times before Saturday, and the results weren’t pretty: a .906 save percentage, 2.89 goals-against average and 9-20-4 record. His time with the Nashville Predators obviously contributed.

I play for expansion team in the division with Detroit when they had 10 Hall of Famers on the roster,” Vokoun said. “Hardly you’re going to have good numbers against team like that.”

But his coming to Washington from the Florida Panthers represented a fresh start, so why not one against the Red Wings?

You know what, this is a new season and I’m playing with different team too a little bit,” Vokoun said. “Sometimes you don’t get a good record against somebody, you can always improve it when you’re still in the league. Hopefully that’s going to be the case.”

Vokoun’s off to a good start to turn those numbers around.