For Caps' Vokoun, less can be more

For Caps' Vokoun, less can be more
October 16, 2011, 6:03 pm
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There is a reason Tomas Vokoun finished among the top 10 NHL goalies in save percentage in five of the past six seasons.

He played for a pair of teams the Nashville Predators and Florida Panthers -- that played defense like matadors.

Like the rest of the Capitals, Vokoun has been a work in progress since arriving from the Panthers, a team he is likely to face Tuesday night at the Verizon Center.

His Capitals debut was a forgettable one, low-lighted by five shaky goals and boos from a skeptical home crowd. He rebounded with strong games against the Penguins and Senators but allowed questionable goals in both games.

I thought the first game wasnt so good, Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. The second game was really good and Saturday night was really, really good. I hope he keeps adding one of those reallys into every game.

Vokoun, who is left-handed, said that aside from his exchanges with his new defensemen, his biggest adjustment has been the wide fluctuation of shots he faces from game to game and period to period.

Its one thing I have to learn how to deal with here, said Vokoun, who saw 28 shots in his first start, 19 in his second and 34 in his third.

Im used to getting lots of shots and being in the game and feeling the puck. Thats not the case here. You can go one period with 15 shots and the next one you might get two. As much as it seems its easier when youre not getting shots, its the toughest time for a goalie because of your concentration level you tend to start wandering and looking up at the score and wondering if theyll get a breakaway.

Unlike the Panthers, who were forced to play a passive, defensive style because of their shortage in talent, the Capitals play a puck-possession game with players far more adept at creating scoring chances than limiting them.

We have the puck all the time and even if the other team wanted to shoot, they cant because they dont have the puck, Vokoun said.

And then sometimes we kind of get on our heels and all of a sudden there are shots from all over the place. Were a work in progress. Guys need to get used to me and I need to get used to them. Nothing comes easy, but hopefully it will come.