Tomas Vokoun to make eighth consecutive start

Tomas Vokoun will make his eighth consecutive start as the Capitals host the Tampa Bay Lightning Friday night at Verizon Center. It’s the second-longest string of starts for the veteran netminder this season — he started nine in a row at the beginning of the season — and the positive impact of regular playing time has been noticeable in his play and confidence.

Over the past seven games, Vokoun has a .942 save percentage and a 1.95 goals-against average and Washington has gone 5-2 during that stretch. As the Capitals enter the second half of the season, beginning Friday with game No. 42, Vokoun appears to have become the go-to option in net.

“It’s easier especially on a goalie when you can play” regularly, Vokoun said. “It’s obviously a little easier on your mental state of mind when you know you’re going to play, even if you make a mistake. But saying that, this is performance business, and if you don’t perform, they’re going to put in somebody else.”

Vokoun said that the coaching staff’s decision to give him the nod against the Penguins on Jan. 11 after the consecutive losses on the road not only allowed him an opportunity to help Washington get back on track, which he did with a 30-save shutout, but that it was an important show of faith in him.

“It’s nice,” Vokoun said of getting the start against Pittsburgh. “Show a little bit of trust, confidence. Sometimes you like the decisions coaches make sometimes you don’t but you’re here to help the team to win.”

A few other quick notes from the morning skate:

●Cody Eakin, who was recalled late Thursday night from Hershey, was on the ice for the workout and from the look of the line rushes this morning he will likely be in the lineup against Tampa Bay.

●Lines this morning:
Ovechkin-Johansson-Semin
Knuble-Laich-Brouwer
Hendricks-Halpern-Ward
Chimera-Eakin-Beagle

Defensive pairings:
Alzner-Carlson
Orlov-Wideman
Hamrlik-Kundratek
Erskine-Schultz

●John Erskine and Jeff Schultz appear to be healthy scratches against the Lightning as will forward Mathieu Perreault.

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