Vokoun vs. Luongo on HNIC's Saturday Night StagePosted on January 14, 2013 by Mike Vogel
Washington and Vancouver hook up tonight on the Hockey Night in Canada stage in front of a national television audience up here in British Columbia. The Caps will be seeking a rare win in this fair city, and a rare win against a pretty fair goaltender, too. Canucks Netminder Roberto Luongo has struggled this season, posting a 2-3-1 record with a 3.46 GAA and an .868 save pct. in his six starts to date. But he has been a Washington nemesis in recent seasons. “I coached him for a year,” says Caps coach Bruce Boudreau of Luongo. “I know how good he can be. I know how mentally strong he is. Every time he steps on the ice, there’s that chance that he is going to be great. I anticipate him being great, just like [Edmonton’s Nikolai] Khabibulin was [Thursday] night. If he’s that, we better be prepared.” Lifetime, Luongo is 17-10-3 with two shutouts, a 2.25 GAA and a .929 save pct. against Washington. Those are very solid numbers, but they’re even more impressive since the tail end of the 2003-04 season. In his last 13 start against the Capitals, Luongo is 12-1 with two shutouts, a 2.12 GAA and a .938 save pct. Washington has scored two or fewer goals 11 of the last 13 times it has faced Luongo. The only Washington win in the last 13 came on Oct. 13, 2008 when the Caps chased Luongo from the net with five goals on 25 shots in a 5-1 win over the Canucks. One thing Washington may have in its favor is a balanced attack, one that features 14 different goal scorers and the fifth most even-strength goals (21) in the league. “What I’ve seen so far is more balanced ice time that their coach is trying to spread,” says Canucks coach Alain Vigneault of the Capitals. “Where maybe in the past – and we obviously don’t play against them very often – you could catch one line on an extra long shift where you might have fresh legs and you might be able to capitalize. “They seem to be able right now – because they’re spreading the ice time a little bit more – to play at a high tempo, a high pace, and that makes it real challenging for defensemen and lines that are up against such speed and skill. I don’t need to go through their lineup individually; we all know what’s on the other side there. Great team; they seem to be real focused and they’re playing real well right now.” Washington has outscored foes 21-10 at even strength this season while Vancouver is on the short end of a 15-21 even-strength goal disparity in its 10 games. Staying disciplined will be important for Washington, which took nine minor penalties and faced eight shorthanded situations in Thursday’s 2-1 loss to the Oilers in Edmonton, the Caps’ first setback of the season. On the other end of the netminding matchup, Tomas Vokoun gets his eighth consecutive start in the Washington nets and that’s something we haven’t seen in the District in nearly half a decade. Vokoun is the first Washington goaltender to start as many as eight straight regular season games since Olie Kolzig started nine straight from Dec. 27, 2006 through Jan. 13, 2007. Backup goaltender Brent Johnson was felled by the flu during part of that stretch, and Kolzig started four games in a span of just six days at one point. During his nine straight games between the pipes nearly five years ago, Kolzig was 3-6 with a 3.34 GAA and an .892 save pct. Vokoun is 6-1 with a shutout, a 1.83 GAA and a .940 save pct. in his seven consecutive starts prior to tonight’s assignment against the Canucks.
Second Chance – Marcus Johansson and Alex Ovechkin are tied for the team lead with five goals each. Johansson netted his fifth of the season in Vancouver on Saturday night, firing a wrist rocket high to the short side on Canucks netminder Roberto Luongo. Minutes earlier while the Caps were