“We got outworked tonight we got beat to a lot of pucks, and turned a lot of pucks over, made a lot of weak plays that ended up in goals,” said Dennis Wideman who was one of only two Capitals with plus ratings at the game’s end.
“We knew they’d be ready to play and they had a lot of jump,” Wideman continued. “They played well we just had some defensive breakdowns and some bad turnovers and gave them some 2 on 1s and whatnot….We just weren’t quite ready to go I guess.”
Maxim Lapierre, Alexander Edler and Chris Higgins each scored two goals for Vancouver in what was far from the Capitals’ most sound defensive performance of the season. Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo, who was pulled from his previous appearance, made 28 saves in his first full game in nine days.
Washington was caught out of position and not moving in its own end throughout the game and the lapses were problematic regardless of who manned the net. Michal Neuvirth was credited with the loss after giving up four goals on 26 shots in the final 40 minutes of play.
The first period was ugly for the Capitals, who came out flat against the motivated Canucks, and Vokoun was pulled after the first period with his team down 3-1.
“My thoughts were, I just didn’t think Tomas was very sharp,” Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau said after the game. “He played eight games in a row at a very high level. I thought the first and third goals weren’t very good.”
Saturday marked the first time Vokoun had been pulled from a game since March 3, when he gave up two goals on the first three shots against Montreal while with the Florida Panthers. The 35-year-old netminder, who was making his eighth consecutive start on Saturday, entered the game with a 6-1 record, a 1.83 goals against average and a .940 save percentage.
Vokoun took the blame for the Canucks’ first goal, when he tried to play the puck behind the goal line but it never crossed into the trapezoid zone where netminders are able to handle the puck. Lapierre retrieved the puck and flung it off Vokoun’s skate and into the net.
“I felt pretty good honestly, I definitely made a mistake on the first goal,” Vokoun said when told that Boudreau didn’t think he was on point. “Third goal I never saw the shot. For whatever reason you’re trying to find it, but our guy was trying to block it but it went right by him. I just heard it kind of sounded like a post but it went in. [Boudreau’s] got a better view of it than me. I’m playing so I can’t really see myself. Internally, I didn’t feel bad but obviously it was 3-1 so coach made a change. That’s his decision.”