Though one might not assume it given the final score of the Capitals’ 4-3 overtime loss to Tampa Bay, Tomas Vokoun was a large part of the reason they were able to capture a point Tuesday night. The veteran netminder finished with 27 saves in the contest.
“Vokey played really good for us,” Mathieu Perreault said. “He gave us a chance to win the game tonight, make some big saves and we had some big shifts and its an important point for us.”
With the Capitals trailing 3-2 and attempting a comeback early in the third period, Vokoun stopped Steven Stamkos on a clean breakaway just 2 minutes and 33 seconds into the frame.
That stop kept Washington within striking distance, and less than three minutes after the save on the NHL’s leading goal scorer, Troy Brouwer added a goal to even things up at 3.
“The one on Stamkos, I think, early in the third was a big momentum change for us,” Brouwer said. “Any time we can get a timely save like that and a huge save like that, especially on player like Stamkos, it really gives the guys a boost. [Vokoun] played his heart out [Tuesday], he played real well but unfortunately we couldn’t get him a second point.”
While Washington wouldn’t get the second point in the overtime, prior to Stamkos cashing in on a rebound for the game-winner, Vokoun made a dazzling glove save as he dove toward the right post to stop Vinny Lecavalier.
Although Coach Dale Hunter couldn’t see the save from his angle behind the bench, he heard the crowd at the Tampa Bay Times Forum react – and for a moment thought the puck was in.
“The fans thought it was in anyways – Tomas he throws everything at it to try to keep it out,” Hunter said. “He cares, he wants to win. He’d do anything to win.”
It seems likely that Vokoun will get the nod today in Florida against his former team. It will mark his 14th start in the past 16 games. During that span, which dates back to Dec. 28 against the Rangers, Vokoun has stopped 378 of the 408 shots he’s faced for a .926 save percentage.