The Capitals received a welcome addition to their lineup tonight in the form of Mike Green, who played his first game since undergoing surgery to repair a small tear in his stomach lining on Jan. 17.

Unfortunately for Washington, his presence wasn’t enough on its own to propel the team to success against the Lightning, who captured a 2-1 win Saturday night. Green played 14 minutes 14 seconds and said afterward he felt “really good”.

“Took some time in the first period to get my feel back but I felt really good,” said Green, who acknowledged that playing in a limited role altered his approach. “Obviously not used to that not only physically but mentally. That was the biggest challenge for tonight. After I got going in the first period going into the second and the third I felt better.”

Green finished with no shots on goal, a penalty, a hit and a blocked shot in 18 shifts. It wasn’t the most eventful outing, but that the two-time Norris Trophy finalist made it through the game with no ill effects is another positive step in his return to full strength.

“He was good. He’s going to be rusty a little bit but he skated okay,” Coach Dale Hunter said. “Every game is another added time for him to get stronger and stronger, a good showing in his first game.”

Sunday is a scheduled day off for the Capitals and Green said the team planned it that way so that he would have extra recovery time following his first game since Jan. 7 at San Jose.

Green is already anxious for his playing time to increase and said he’d like to be skating more regular shifts when the Capitals take on Carolina Monday.

“I would like to get playing a little bit more as quick as possible,” Green said, “But it’s not up to me so we’ll see.”

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