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Caps pluggers salvage win despite Tomas Vokoun’s tough debut

Oct 10, 2011, 10:46 PM EST

Tampa Bay Lightning v Washington Capitals Getty Images

Tomas Vokoun earned a 6-5 shootout win in his Washington Capitals debut, but there’s no way he expected it to happen like it did.

Vokoun looked downright silly on at least three of the five goals he allowed while the Caps’ star trio of Alexander Ovechkin, Alex Semin and Nicklas Backstrom combined for a -6 and zero points.

Instead, the Capitals’ lesser-known players saved the day. Jason Chimera came up the biggest (two goals), but supporting cast members such as Troy Brouwer, Matt Hendricks and Marcus Johansson were essential to that sloppy win. Instead of drawing even with the Tampa Bay Lightning’s star players, they ended up being the story of the game.

Following tonight’s logic, it only makes sense that Hendricks scored the shootout winner, then.

Vokoun’s ugly night

It’s fair to say that Vokoun at least partially redeemed his dreadful first night in overtime. He stopped five shots as the Lightning received ample power play time and applied considerable pressure on the beleaguered Caps goalie. He turned all of those shots aside and then defiantly shut down Tampa Bay’s two shootout attempts.

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source: APBoth coaches can’t be happy

This was just that kind of night: a sloppy, penalty-filled affair that should make both coaches furious. Bruce Boudreau’s face resembled a mood ring at times, especially after Vokoun allowed a fifth goal.

Guy Boucher cannot be too happy about his team’s performance, either. Steven Stamkos, Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis were held pointless while Dwayne Roloson had hiccups of his own. The most worrisome part might be Tampa Bay’s defense, though. Roloson faced 43 shots in this game, bumping the team to 118 shots allowed in three games. That places them in last place in the NHL in this young season, which isn’t exactly a great formula for success when you have an ancient goalie in net.

Vokoun, Neuvirth and the goaltending elephant in the room

Vokoun’s struggles will probably capture the headlines tonight, though, especially considering the budding goalie controversy. Vokoun is known for being a slow starter, but that won’t slow down Michal Neuvirth‘s proponents one bit.

Give both teams at least some credit, though: good teams find ways to squeeze points out of bad nights. All parties probably want this to be the exception rather than the rule, though – especially Vokoun (and really every star player involved).

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  1. bigbear42 - Oct 11, 2011 at 6:32 AM

    Its only two games, but you do have to be somewhat concerned that their top players have barely been involved in their 9 goals. That being said, this could be a sign that the Caps finally have the depth to make a real run at the cup.

    • icelovinbrotha215 - Oct 11, 2011 at 11:05 AM

      What depth? Offensively? The Caps have always had that. But to win a Stanley Cup you need 2 things: defense and goaltending. The Caps have look good in the regular season but falter in the playoffs. It’s too early to say they really have the depth to make a Cup run.

  2. babykaby - Oct 12, 2011 at 12:47 PM

    Vokoun played poorly. You didn’t do too well either. Hendricks did not score the winner, Semin did. I’m sure Vokoun will do better at his job next time, will you?

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