Capitals goaltender Tomas Vokoun is expected to get his first start in Sunrise, Fla., tonight since the Panthers let him sign with Washington as a free agent last summer.
The significance of finally playing a game in front of his wife and two daughters pales in comparison to his teams need for two points.
Its a huge game, Vokoun told CSNwashington.com, so Im not looking at it as a game against a team I played for. Thats not really important anymore.
With 26 games to play, the Capitals sit in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, four points behind the Southeast Division-leading Panthers and one ahead of the 10th-place Winnipeg Jets.
Its not a great situation, Vokoun said, but not a terrible one either.
Vokoun should know. For the past four years he was a part of the Panthers 10-year run of missing the playoffs. Included in that stretch was the 2008-09 season in which the Panthers finished with 93 points, but missed the playoffs because of their head-to-head record against the Canadiens, who also finished with 93 points.
I think a lot of guys here havent been through this as much as Ive been, Vokoun said We have a good team. We have to look at the standings and realize we cant fall farther and farther back because its impossible to catch teams.
This next week is huge for us. Its desperate times, so we need to play desperate.