Green a finalist for Norris Trophy

Montreal forces a Game 6 with a 2-1 win over the Capitals on Friday night at Verizon Center.
By Gene Wang
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Washington Capitals' Mike Green is a finalist for the Norris Trophy, marking the second straight year he has been in contention for the award presented to the league's top defenseman.

The other finalists are Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks and the Los Angeles Kings' Drew Doughty. Votes were due immediately prior to the start of the playoffs, and the winner will be announced at the NHL Awards show in Las Vegas on June 23.

As the NHL's highest scoring defenseman twice in a row, Green established career bests this season for points (76) and assists (57) in 75 games. Green's 19 goals also were the most among defensemen.

Green has led defensemen in goals three consecutive times, including a career-high 31 last season, and his plus/minus rating of plus-39 was third in the league among all players, behind Jeff Schultz and Alex Ovechkin.

"When I went up and congratulated him this morning, he said all he wants is the Stanley Cup," Coach Bruce Boudreau said, "so his head's in the right area, but it's a nice honor for him and a well-deserved honor."

Green has not scored during Washington's first-round series against Montreal, including Friday's 2-1 home loss in Game 5, but he had an assist in each of the Capitals' victories at Bell Centre. In 14 playoff games last season, Green had nine points, including eight assists.

Highly regarded for his scoring prowess, Green has absorbed his share of criticism for the perception he can be a defensive liability, although in Washington's first four games against the Canadiens, he was second on the team with 11 blocked shots.

Penalty kill excels

The Capitals mustered only one goal in a loss Friday night, but the team's penalty kill went 5 for 5 to keep Game 5 close. The unit was especially effective during a second period when the Capitals were called for three infractions.

First, Washington fought off Montreal after a slashing call against defenseman Joe Corvo 5 minutes 49 seconds into the second period. Then Capitals right wing Eric Fehr was called for roughing midway through the period, followed by a high stick on center Nicklas Backstrom.

Washington allowed no shots on goal during the Fehr penalty and continued their standout play on special teams to kill off the Backstrom penalty, drawing hearty approval each time from the Verizon Center faithful.

Anthem antics

During the playing of Canada's national anthem on Friday night in Game 5, Capitals fans applauded loudly to the point of almost drowning it out. That show of enthusiasm was in response to their Montreal counterparts, some of whom booed the Star-Spangled Banner before Monday's Game 3 at Bell Centre.

Capitals fans borrowed the routine from Boston Bruins supporters, who did the same in their next game against Montreal after Canadiens fans booed the American national anthem during the 2004 playoffs.

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