During Sunday's marathon Game 3, Tomas Vokoun logged the most ice time of any player on either team at 87:39, edging out his Ottawa counterpart, Craig Anderson, by three seconds.
Overtime in the postseason can be exhausting mentally and physically for all players but probably none more so than goaltenders who have to be perfect past regulation for their teams to win.
Today, Vokoun talked about the benefit of an extra day of rest, being a starter at the age of 36 and moving on past the disappointing loss.
Was it nice to have two days off after Game 3?
"Yeah. Definitely. I was pretty tired. It was a long game. Not just physically. It’s a long time to keep your concentration. It’s nice to have one extra day of down time."
During the quarterfinal series against the Islanders, you said you said you wondered if you would ever get a chance to play in another playoff game. What is it like being the starter mid-way through the semifinal round?
"Yeah. That’s one of the advantages for me. I don’t think have to feel any pressure going forward with your career unlike someone who is 27 or 28. That makes it easier. But you still have to go on the ice. You still have to perform. Obviously it’s a game. You train and play all those years. You want to be in a situation like that. You want a chance to make a difference and be in the game. Be a part of playoff hockey. Definitely over the years when I was on the teams I didn’t make the playoffs, you realize how special it is. You always see the guys on TV having fun playing for the Cup and you have no chance. From that perspective, you have to embrace it.”
How has former starter Marc-Andre Fleury handled being the backup?
"Marc’s been great all year with me. We have a really, really good relationship. I’m sure he wants to be playing just like everybody else. He’s handling great. I’m sure we’re going to need Marc again. He’s a great goaltender. That is why this is a team sport. If you play golf or tennis, you win it or lose it yourself. In hockey, that’s why you have 20-plus players on the team. Every night, it’s somebody different who makes the difference. He’s been great personally and professionally."
How do you handle the swings in momentum in contests like Game 3?
"Every game is different and unique by circumstances. Something could happen during the game. I think what is most exciting about playoff hockey is the swings of momentum. Just like when were with the Islanders. It just swings. We were up 2-0 then they were up 4-2. You never know what’s going to happen. We know the game plan pretty good on each other I’m sure. But every game is unique. Sometimes it’s the stuff you can’t even control. Somebody by accident might have a high stick and you have to kill [a four-minute power play]. There’s always surprises."
As a goaltender, how quickly do you have to forget Game 3?
"That’s one of the things you have to be able to do if you play in goal. Obviously that was a tough loss for us under the circumstances. At the end, if you look at it, it’s no different than if we lose 8-1 in regulation. Obviously, at that moment, you’re very frustrated. We were so close. It doesn’t have any bearing on the game tomorrow unless we let it. I think that’s when you have to control yourself and say it’s in the past. Tomorrow, we start 0-0 again. Our chances aren’t any different of winning [Game 4] if we won [Game 3.]"
(Photos: Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)