|FLA||1||0||0||(0 - 0)||1|
|WSH||1||0||2||(0 - 0)||3|
WASHINGTON (AP) -Now there is no doubt: Mike Green has joined Alex Ovechkin as a player the Washington Capitals can count on as a game-changer.
Green scored twice in the third period and helped kill off a 5-minute penalty that expired with a second left Saturday night, help the Capitals beat Florida 3-1 and giving him goals in six consecutive games, a record for a Washington defenseman.
"It's nice to be able to talk about more than one guy," said Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau, so accustomed to speaking about reigning MVP and current NHL goal leader Ovechkin.
"It certainly has been Mike's last two weeks. Every game, everything he's touching is turning to gold. And I hope it doesn't end."
Green's initial breakthrough came last season, when he led NHL blueliners with 18 goals. That seems like a nice, little number now: Saturday's tiebreaker on a power play 43 seconds into the third period and late empty-netter give him a career-high 19 goals and 46 points in 2008-09. He leads the league's defensemen in both of those categories, despite having missed 13 games while injured.
"If there's another guy that they can watch, then that means somebody else is open and somebody else will score," he said.
Green's first goal came off assists from Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, while Panthers center Stephen Weiss was in the penalty box for holding.
"I picked up the puck too late, when it was going by me," Florida goalie Tomas Voukon said. "It was a good shot. Good players make good shots."
Green's second was unassisted and came with 1:13 left on a length-of-the-ice shot.
"He's got tons of confidence right now. He can play for 30 minutes and never look tired," Boudreau said. "And his shot is so accurate. It must be a little bit like a baseball player that's in a groove, just hitting everything they throw to him."
Jose Theodore made 21 saves for the Capitals. The Southeast Division leaders have won four of five games and put a little more distance between themselves and Florida, which entered the night in second place, 12 points behind.
Green will get the headlines, of course, but Washington's penalty-killing unit deserves plenty of credit for the victory. A 5-minute penalty on defenseman Shaone Morrissonn for checking from behind gave Florida a 5-on-3 chance for more than a minute and a power play that expired with a second left in the game.
"It wasn't a very smart play by Mo," Boudreau said. "You've just got to be able to control your emotions out there."
Still, the Capitals held their lead, ending a stretch of 13 straight games in which they allowed a power-play goal.
"We were embarrassed by that," forward Dave Steckel said.
Notes: Eric Fehr put Washington ahead only 33 seconds into the game, the second game in a row the Capitals scored in the first minute. ... The Panthers tied it 8:35 into the game on Keith Ballard's fifth goal. ... Ovechkin took six shots in the first period - one fewer than the entire Panthers team. ... The Capitals recalled F Alexandre Giroux from AHL affiliate Hershey, in case F Brooks Laich (bruised leg) was unable to play. But Laich was in uniform - he's one of three Capitals to have appeared in every game this season - and Giroux was scratched.
|Eric Fehr (6) Snap shot - ASST: Tomas Fleischmann (11), Mike Green (28)|
1 - 0 WSH
|Keith Ballard (5) Slapshot - ASST: Richard Zednik (12), Cory Stillman (18)|
1 - 1 Tie
|PPG - Mike Green (18) Wrist shot - ASST: Alex Ovechkin (32), Alexander Semin (26)|
2 - 1 WSH
|SHG - EN - Mike Green (19) Snap shot - ASST: NONE|
3 - 1 WSH
|Stephen Weiss Hi stick - double minor against Brooks Laich|
|Mike Green Tripping against Radek Dvorak|
|Jassen Cullimore Holding against Brooks Laich|
|Alex Ovechkin Hi-sticking against Michael Frolik|
|Stephen Weiss Holding against Mike Green|
|Eric Fehr Interference against Michael Frolik|
|Sergei Fedorov Holding against Cory Stillman|
|Shaone Morrisonn Boarding (maj) against Cory Stillman|
|Shaone Morrisonn Game misconduct against Cory Stillman|