The Capitals captured an overtime victory in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series, 2-1, over the New York Rangers Wednesday night, showing the patience and continued adherence to the gameplan that they’ve strived for this season. Alexander Semin notched the game-winner with a wicked shot into the upper left corner behind Henrik Lundqvist that marked the Russian winger’s first playoff goal since Apr. 28 2009, also against the Rangers.
Along with a one-game edge in the series, Washington benefited from the return of Mike Green, who played in his first contest since he suffered a concussion on Feb. 25 when he was elbowed in the head by New York’s Derek Stepan. Green played 26 minutes and 30 seconds in Game 1, finishing with four shots, a hit and four blocked shots.
By most appearances, the two-time Norris Trophy finalist didn’t miss a beat as he helped spark the Capitals’ rushes up ice and created some offense when they were trying to find any way past Henrik Lundqvist.
Asked how he felt, Green cracked a smile: “The game had to go to overtime.
“I felt good once I got my legs,” he continued, “and I felt comfortable playing again.”
While he didn’t finish the contest as Washington’s leader in ice time, at the end of the second period Green had played the most of all Capitals (14:53) through 40 minutes. After the game, Green said he “asked to be eased into it, but it is what it is.”
“I’ve never been out that long,” Green said. “And obviously, any time you get away from the game that long you want to make sure that you’re ready to play, especially in the playoffs.”
Coach Bruce Boudreau said he was pleased with Green’s first game back.
“I thought his first period might have been as good as he has played in a playoff game,” Boudreau said. “I thought it was outstanding for a guy that hasn’t played in six weeks to come back to a game like that.”