Friday, January 29, 2010

9 Is Fine

Capitals 4, Panthers 1
Game Summary

The Washington Capitals started this nine game winning streak with a shoot-out win over the Florida Panthers. During that span they have scored 44 goals while only allowing 19 goals against, scored 11 goals on the power play and one goal shorthanded and increased their lead in the Southeast Division to 22 points and 6 point lead in the Eastern Conference. Their ninth win came over the same Panthers that forced overtime nearly two weeks ago and it would not take overtime or a shoot-out for the Caps to come away with a 4-1 win.

Mike Knuble scored a pair of goals, while Nick Backstrom and the Sarge Jeff Schultz made up the difference. Alex Ovechkin factored into the score sheet just on an assist.

But the win did come with a cost as Mike Green took a knee on knee hit and took the worst of the encounter from Dmitry Kulikov. Green would come back in the third but the coaches decided against him playing any further in the game. The hit was clean as Kulikov led with his shoulder and the knee on knee contact just was a consequence of the hit. Bruce Boudreau called it "more of a charly horse than anything else."

Michal Neuvirth played well, controlling his rebounds and coming up with the big save when the team needed it. Jose Theodore did dress to back up the young goaltender, but he might be in danger of losing his number one seat if Neuvirth continues to play at the level he is. His calm demeanor in net and his ability to gobble up shots, not giving the opposition a second chance on rebounds, has made Neuvy a goaltender that might have some staying power with the big club.

What is more remarkable than winning nine games in a row is the fact that the Capitals do not have to rely on Alex Ovechkin to carry the team. Even though the Caps' superstar has managed an average of two points a game during the winning streak, the large amount of their scoring has been sprinkled around. Fifteen different Capitals have scored a goal during the game winning stretch.

The Caps also have won five straight just against the Florida Panthers. Their dominance in their division continues as the team has now stretched out to a 22 point lead in the standings over their closest rivals Atlanta Thrashers.

Special teams again have come through for the Caps as they were able to score a power play goal while at the same time killing off all of their penalties.

Caps notes:
  • In 6 of the nine games the Caps have won during their winning streak, a Cap player has scored two goals (Semin in two games, Knuble in two games, Laich and Ovechkin). The Capitals do not have a single player with a hattrick yet this season.
  • This would tie the second longest winning streak for the Capitals Franchise and just short of the ten straight wins in '83-'84. This is the longest winning streak for Bruce Boudreau since taking over as the Capitals head coach.
  • The last time the Capitals lost was against the next team they face. The Tampa Bay Lightning embarrassed the Caps at St. Pete Times Forum 7-4 before the Caps went on to beat Florida, Toronto, Philadelphia, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Phoenix, New York Islanders, Anaheim and again Florida in that order.

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