- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 19, 2011

So many times last season, Tomas Vokoun put on a Florida Panthers uniform and put the Florida Panthers themselves on his back. Six times he shut out an opponent  — never with fewer than 27 shots against.

On Tuesday night, he was on the other end: Not seeing a whole lot of action from his old team. But the result was the same, a shutout  — his first with the Washington Capitals. He stopped all 20 shots that came his way, more of a challenge than it appeared.

“It was a tough game. You don’t see anything and then you don’t know what’s going to happen. You got to get used to anything,” Vokoun said. “My job is still stop the puck. I’ll worry about that and trying to take all the other stuff out of it. If it’s two shots or 20, I’m trying to do my job.”

While Panthers rookie Jacob Markstrom was shining, with 29 saves, Vokoun did everything he had to do. The Caps largely took advantage of an exhausted team, so the chances Florida got weren’t great or many.

“He’s pretty solid,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “When we did have breakdowns, he’s there to help us out. You need that.”

Vokoun doesn’t have a whole lot of ex-teammates left with the Panthers, so he didn’t see this as anything particularly special. And he chose to leave Florida because he didn’t think it was building a winner right now, so he wasn’t looking for any measure of revenge.

Still, he was happy to beat his former team.

“They’ve been doing good, and you can tell they’re a whole lot more skilled and pretty quick team,” he said. “Their forwards, from what we were like, they’re miles in front of what we had last year. Good for them. I don’t hold any grudges. I had a good time; they treated me well.”

From the other side, there was a healthy level of respect for Vokoun  — but also the realization that the Panthers didn’t do enough to turn up the heat.

“We didn’t test him too much,” Panthers forward Kris Versteeg said. “He’s a good goalie but we didn’t test him at all. Maybe we gave them too much respect with the puck.”

The Caps had the puck for so long, that the Panthers didn’t get many quality scoring chances.

“We didn’t give them a whole lot,” Caps defenseman Dennis Wideman said. “And when we did, obviously Tomas came up big.”