Mike Green made an abbreviated return to the Capitals’ lineup Friday night in their 3-1 win over New Jersey. In his first appearance in a game since suffering a right ankle injury on Oct. 22, Green was forced to leave the contest at Prudential Center after only 7 minutes 44 seconds of play.
The good news is, Green didn’t re-injure the ankle, according to Coach Bruce Boudreau, who said that this is not something he expects will keep the defenseman out for long.
“It’s a different soreness. So at least it’s not the ankle. So that’s good news,” Boudreau said. “Yeah I’m pretty confident [it’s not serious]. I talked to him already about it. It’s a day-to-day thing, not a three-week day-to-day thing. It’s an actual day-to-day thing.”
Late in the first period, Green was hit by New Jersey forward Ryan Carter in a corner behind the Capitals’ net. It was an awkward play in which Green was pinned against the boards as Carter collided with him knee-on-knee.
Green appeared to have trouble skating as he made his way to the bench and he went to the dressing room shortly afterward. He came back out to the ice and the bench for the start of the second period but only skated one shift – 30 seconds on the power play – before heading down the tunnel to the dressing room again.
It forced the Capitals to play with five defensemen, something that hasn’t occurred too much this season so far but for the most part the rest of the blue-liners fared well. While New Jersey did get chances, many were limited to the outside of the zone.
“You’ve got to take a little shorter shifts and spread the ice time around,” Dennis Wideman said of playing down a defenseman. “I thought we all shared the ice time when greener went down, and I think we did a pretty good job.”