It has been 15 days since Tomas Vokoun last played in a game. First it was a couple bad games, then a lower-body injury that knocked him out as Michal Neuvirth made sixth straight starts.
But Vokoun will be back in net Thursday night for the Washington Capitals against the Tampa Bay Lightning. And he’s not concerned about rust.
“It’s  games left in the season, so it shouldn’t be any,” Vokoun said. “We’ll see tonight, I guess.”
The 35-year-old’s last two starts were more than forgettable: a four goal on 11 shot performance at Ottawa on Feb. 22 and a two goal on seven shots performance at Carolina. In both games he was a victim of shoddy play in front of him, but that didn’t stop Neuvirth from going on a string of starts.
“There’s things you control, there’s things you don’t control,” Vokoun said. “When you don’t play, you prepare. When you get the chance, you do a good job.”
Neuvirth allowed four goals in Tuesday’s overtime loss to the Hurricanes, but it could be argued that none were his fault. This is more a chance to get the veteran back into a groove.
“I thought Neuvy has played well, but he’s played a lot of games and Tomas is feeling great, so we’ll go with him,” coach Dale Hunter said.
It is a difficult balance right now with 16 games left and both goaltenders wanting to get some rhythm.
“You cant let them sit too long,” Hunter said. “Tomas is good to go, so we got two goalies that are ready to go.”
Lightning coach Guy Boucher did not announce whether veteran Dwayne Roloson or rookie Dustin Tokarski would start, noting that he hadn’t yet talked to Tokarski.