Tomas Vokoun is not going to split hairs when it comes to Dale Hunters assessment of his play.
When you get pulled in back-to-back starts and allow six goals on 18 shots, well, its hard to make a strong case to return to the nets.
We didnt play good the last two games, bottom line, Vokoun said about losses in Carolina and Ottawa by a combined score of 10-2. Personally, I didnt play good at all the last game and its disappointing.
Sometimes thats how hockey is. Its one game; you just go back to work. Were still in the mix for a playoff spot and theres still 22 games left. Were not in a good spot, but we still have our fate in our hands.
The Caps have lost three games in a row and six of their last seven, but a pair of wins this weekend against the Montreal Canadiens (Friday) and Toronto Maple Leafs (Saturday) could lift them back into eighth place in the Eastern Conference, and possibly as high as third.
Once you get in anything can happen, Hunter said of the playoffs, but weve got to get in.
They wont unless they get better goaltending from either Vokoun or Michal Neuvirth. Hunter said he would decide on Friday which goalie faces the Canadiens at the Verizon Center.
We need Tomas to play well, Hunter said. It wasnt one of his better games, the last couple games. Hes better than that. Maybe hes tired. I played him a lot. Hes a professional. He comes out here, he works his tail off and we need him. I told him that.
Of the four goals he allowed in Ottawa, Vokoun seemed angry only about the first one, but added he needs to come up with big saves at big times in the game.
Its a desperate time in the season and youve got to make saves, Vokoun said. And when you dont make them, no matter how they go in, its frustrating. Im not worried about what people say. Its not a personal thing. Obviously, I want to help the guys win and I certainly didnt do that last game.
Neuvirth played shutout hockey after entering Wednesday nights game in Ottawa, but he has struggled throughout the season with a 6-9-3 mark, including losses in his last three decisions.
Hunter said he likes the attitude Vokoun brought to the rink on Thursday and hopes he carries it through the remainder of the season.
He doesnt pout, Hunter said. If you pout, you dont get better and you dont get your game going again. We need some saves and he knows that. Its a big part of the game, goaltending, and you need it to win. Hes done it for us and hell come back and play well for us again.
The only question is, when?