Green Strikes in OT, Caps Win 3rd Straight
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Out of the corner of his eye, Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green saw New York Rangers right wing Brendan Shanahan trip and fall, losing the puck in the process.
He knew exactly what to do next.
Green and teammate Brooks Laich raced into the Rangers' zone on a two-on-one rush. Laich dished the puck to Green, who snapped his shot behind Henrik Lundqvist with 1 minute 19 seconds in overtime left to deliver a thrilling 5-4 victory -- and put a punctuation mark on his breakout season.
The Rangers filed off the ice with their heads down as the crowd at Verizon Center erupted and the Capitals mobbed Green to celebrate their third straight win and fourth in five games. The victory also boosted their record to 6-3-1 under interim coach Bruce Boudreau.
"I saw him trip and I took off," Green, 22, said. "Brooks made a great pass to me and then I seen the top half of the net."
Said Laich: "My eyes lit up. Shanahan just fell down and I pounced on it and we were able to capitalize."
Green, smooth on his skates and with a stick, knew exactly to do when Laich sent him the puck, too.
The goal was Green's eighth this season and third point of the game, a career-best performance. He also finished with a career-high 30 minutes 5 seconds of ice time.
"He's going to be good," said Boudreau, who coached Green in the American Hockey League playoffs the past two seasons. "I have all the confidence in the world in him. He's smart with the puck."
The Capitals also got two goals from minor league call-up Joe Motzko and one apiece from Alex Ovechkin and Jeff Schultz. Goaltender Olie Kolzig made 19 saves, including a save from point-blank range by Chris Drury to start overtime.
Green's goal capped a wild finish that saw Shanahan go from hero to goat in a matter of minutes.
Ovechkin gave the Capitals their first lead of the night, 3-2, at 4:36 of the third period when he redirected Green's shot.