Vokoun Gets Back-to-Back NodPosted on January 14, 2013 by Mike Vogel
Dale Hunter’s record as the Washington bench boss nudged above what passes for .500 in the modern NHL for the first time with Friday night’s win over the Sabres. Hunter is now 7-6-1 since taking over the reins of the Capitals on Nov. 28. Quietly, the Caps have put together a 6-3-1 run in their last 10 games, and that stretch of hockey has them just a point out of sixth place in the Eastern Conference standings and just five points behind front-running Florida (3-3-4 in its last 10) in the Southeast Division standings. The Caps also have two games in hand on the Swamp Cats. Tonight in Columbus, the Caps will be seeking a third straight win. If they get it, it will mark their first winning run longer than two games since they reeled off seven straight to start the season. With that in mind, the Capitals again turn to Tomas Vokoun between the pipes tonight. Vokoun will be making his third straight start and his fourth straight appearance. Since coming on in relief on Monday in Buffalo, Vokoun is 2-0 with a 1.08 GAA and a .960 save pct. Lifetime against the Blue Jackets, Vokoun is 19-8-2 with a 2.22 GAA, a .920 save pct and three shutouts. During the course of his NHL career, Vokoun is 9-5-1 with a 2.41 GAA and a .915 save pct. in 15 starts at Nationwide Arena. Even with his rocky Dec. 13 performance (four goals allowed in 40 minutes) against the Flyers, Vokoun is 4-2 in his seven December appearances (six starts) and he has a .927 save pct. in those outings. Washington is playing its first set of back-to-back games in more than a month, and this is the first time this season the Caps have tasked one of their goaltenders with starts in contests played on consecutive nights. Over the last three seasons, Vokoun has made both starts in back-to-back sets of games 17 times, and he has also played in a relief role once in such situations. He is 5-12-1 in the second game of the back-to-back sets in those 18 appearances, with a 2.95 GAA and a .913 save pct.
Washington’s current three-game winning streak is impressive in that it was accomplished in just four nights. The Caps had a busy post-holiday week, playing four times in six nights. With wins in back-to-back games on Friday (vs. Buffalo) and Saturday (at Columbus), the Capitals authored their