Friday, January 29, 2010, 11:26 PM
By Joe Beninati
For the first 45 minutes on the air tonight, I was getting the feeling that the Caps long win streak was in jeopardy. The Panthers executed their game-plan very well and the home team was not as crisp as we have seen them recently.
Even with a one-goal lead the Caps were giving up quality chances by the bushel and thankfully Michal Neuvirth bailed them out. The Panthers have had a very nice month of January for themselves. Pete DeBoers team doesnt get overly fancy and they rely upon a world class goalie in Tomas Vokoun. Vokoun, however, has not been his stingy self against the Capitals this year.After Florida tied the score at 1-1, Mike Knuble and Alex Ovechkin crashed the crease and Vokoun began to have issues controlling his rebounds. An Ovechkin stuff attempt glanced in off Knubles skate and Washington had a lead it would never relinquish.A scary moment occurred late in the second period when Mike Green was cleaned out in open ice by Dmitri Kulikov. The 19-year old defender stepped up and hammered Green and their knees locked. Green stayed crumpled on the ice for a couple minutes and needed help to get off the ice, not putting much weight on his right skate. After the game Coach Bruce Boudreau told the media that the Green injury was believed to be more of a charley horse than anything significant to the knee itself.This team has such an incredibly good attitude at the moment. Winning nine straight games would make anyone happy, but theyve managed to stay workmanlike throughout the past few weeks. Its that type of grounded approach that allows them to not be overly satisfied with the success theyve achieved so far.On Sunday afternoon they have the chance to tie a franchise record that has existed on its own for almost 26 years. Craig Laughlin played on that Caps team in 1984. It will be pretty cool to hear his reflections of that team in light of how magical the current Caps appear to be. See you at 3 p.m. Sunday on CSN.