As the Capitals head into the final five games of the regular season with their playoff hopes on the line, Coach Dale Hunter said it was an easy decision on who to start in net against the Boston Bruins Thursday.
Tomas Vokoun will get his first start since March 16 in Winnipeg now that he has recovered from a strained groin muscle. In addition to the key start, Vokoun also received perhaps Hunter’s strongest vote of confidence for any netminder.
“You look at his numbers this year, he’s been good for us and he’s a veteran. He’s been through these things before so it’s no question,” Hunter said. “You look at his numbers, it wasn’t up and down. Everybody has a couple [bad] games but in general most of the games he gives us a chance to win every night.”
Vokoun has been limited to appearances in only three of the past 17 games because of the groin strain, but that trio included a 30-save performance in Washington’s 4-3 win over the Bruins on March 10.
“It’s a tough game against them,” Vokoun said. “They make it hard on you and it’s not going to be easy. We’ve got to be ready to play everybody and it’s a huge game for us.”
As for the injury, Vokoun said he doesn’t feel as though there will be any limitations to his game against the Bruins after testing his groin out in several consecutive practices.
“You can’t go in worried about that,” Vokoun said when asked about if he’s concerned about the injury. “It feels pretty good and that’s how I go about it, I did a couple full extension saves in practices and it held up. That’s basically what I have to go by and I’m not worried about it you try and stop the puck you’re not worried about anything else.”
In the opposite end, Tim Thomas will start for Boston.