Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The Standard

Yesterday there was some chatter on Twitter about the performance of Capitals’ goaltender Tomas Vokoun and his having started six games in a row, not having allowed more than two goals in any of them in compiling a 5-1-0 record. Comparisons were drawn to former Caps goalie Olaf Kolzig and a similar performance in his Vezina Trophy-winning year of 1999-2000 in which he also started six consecutive games (February 26-March 7, 2000) and allowed two or fewer goals in all of them.

Going back and looking at that season one finds that the six-game stretch Kolzig authored was but a part of a run in which he allowed two or fewer goals in nine straight appearances (one an abbreviated 40 minute stint in which he allowed two goals in a 3-0 loss to the Boston Bruins).

In fact, that 1999-2000 season was really one of two seasons for Kolzig. In the 1999 portion of the season he finished 10-13-6, 2.73, .893, and one shutout. He won consecutive starts only once before New Years’ Day 2000.

But the 2000 portion of the season? He was 31-7-5, 1.94, .932, with four shutouts. He had four streaks of at least four consecutive wins, including a seven-game streak from March 11-28, 2000. Only 11 times in 43 games did he allow more than two goals.

Y2K did not seem to present a problem for Kolzig that season.

Tomas Vokoun is the best goaltender the Caps have had since Kolzig, certainly. But if Vokoun is going to match that 1990-2000 season, he has quite a way to go. Those 43 games are perhaps the best sustained exhibition of goaltending in the history of the franchise.

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