The Washington Times - January 13, 2012, 11:31AM

It looked like Tomas Vokoun’s downfall was coming with “I Love L.A.” playing in the background at Staples Center. But that 5-2 Washington Capitals loss wasn’t his fault, and teammates admitted they hung him out to dry.

We had too many mistakes and we were just relying on our goalies all the time,” defenseman Roman Hamrlik said that night. “Tomas and Michal [Neuvirth], they’re doing everything to stop the puck, but they’re not going to stop everything.”


Vokoun didn’t stop everything, but he got the start Wednesday against the Pittsburgh Penguins and tossed his second shutout of the season and 46th of his career. Knowing that he was going back out there was a confidence booster for the 35-year-old goalie.

“It’s obviously a little bit easier on your mental state mind your going to play even if you make a mistake,” Vokoun said. “It’s nice. Show a little bit of trust or confidence or whatever you want to call it.”

Vokoun will make his eighth straight start Friday night against the Carolina Hurricanes, no surprise at all given how good he has been lately. In these seven starts, Vokoun has a 1.95 goals-against average and a .942 save percentage.

Coach Dale Hunter hasn’t hesitated to rely on Vokoun since he replaced Neuvirth in Buffalo on Dec. 26, with Monday night’s yanking coming more as a result of the team in front of him playing poorly.

As for the idea of having a clear-cut No. 1 goalie, Hunter shrugged off the importance.

“Players, they back both goalies and whoever plays well and that’s the way it is with the centermen or whatever,” Hunter said. “Who plays the best is going to play. And that’s where it’s at.”