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Green sets scoring mark in Caps win

Saturday, 02.14.2009 / 11:33 PM / Game of the Night

By John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

Mike Green and the Washington Capitals both got what they came for.

Green set an NHL record for defensemen by scoring a goal in his eighth consecutive game, and the Caps left the St. Pete Times Forum with the two points they wanted by rolling over the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-1 on Saturday night.

The 23-year-old defenseman made history when he picked up the carom after Matt Pettinger blocked his initial shot and snapped the puck through the legs of goaltender Karri Ramo at 5:33 of the second period for a power-play goal that made it 4-0. It broke a tie with Mike O'Connell, who scored in seven consecutive games for the Boston Bruins midway through the 1983-84 season.

"It's incredible," said Green, who was covered with shaving cream applied by his teammates after the game. "I'm playing with some of the best players in the world."

With former Cap Jeff Halpern in the box, Green slid down from the point into the slot, took a pass from Semin and took a shot that was blocked by Pettinger. But the puck popped into the air and came down back on Green's stick. He quickly snapped a shot that went through Ramo's pads and into the net.

"I got a shot and one of the Tampa players made a good block," Green said during an interview with Caps' TV analyst Craig Laughlin during the second intermission. "I went right behind him, and I was just waiting for it to drop. I was in the slot, and I just put it five-hole."

The 23-year-old defenseman's teammates streamed onto the ice to celebrate -- while in the stands, his father high-fived the dads of other Caps players who were on the annual dads' trip with the team.

"I wasn't expecting that, but I was excited," Green said about the on-ice celebration. "It almost brought a little tear to my eye, so I was pretty jacked up."

Green's career has taken off since Bruce Boudreau took over as Caps coach on Thanksgiving Day in 2007. But Boudreau played down any contribution to Green's success.

"He could have had Mickey Mouse coaching and eventually he was going to be a great hockey player," said Boudreau, now 8-0 against Tampa Bay. "I'm just happy I'm the one who right now is able to coach Mike."

Ramo gave up the record-setting goal because the Lightning pulled starting goaltender Mike McKenna after a first period in which the Caps scored three times on 12 shots while the Lightning were unable to beat Michal Neuvirth, a Czech rookie making his NHL debut.

Green has 10 goals and 7 assists during the streak, though he saw his string of multi-point games end at six. He is one game away from tying the overall franchise consecutive-game goal streak record set by Alan Haworth in 1985-86 and matched by Mike Gartner in 1986-87.

Washington removed any mystery about the outcome early. Alexander Semin finished off a give-and-go with Nicklas Backstrom and beat McKenna from the slot at 5:02. Alex Ovechkin raced from the Caps' zone into the right circle before beating ripping a shot into the far corner at 13:21, and Shaone Morrisonn beat McKenna with a long slap shot through traffic at 19:20.

"Wish I would have been a lot better in the first," McKenna said.

Meanwhile, Neuvirth made a pair of brilliant stops on Lightning star Vincent Lecavalier, stopping him on a one-timer from the slot and then robbing him with a glove save on a breakaway. He finished with 31 saves -- and just like Green, the 20-year old goalie got the shaving cream treatment after the game.

 

 
 
"What can I say? It's unreal. An unreal feeling right now," Neuvirth said. "I still can't believe that. That was my best feeling ever."

 

The Lightning finally scored at 9:30 of the second period when Ryan Malone's shot pinballed past Neuvirth. Eric Fehr added a goal for the Caps with 6:29 left in regulation.

"I thought the first period we actually played a pretty good period," Tampa Bay interim coach Rich Tocchet said after his team lost for the sixth time in eight games. "We spotted them three goals on turnovers."

Material from wire services and team broadcast media was used in this report





 

Quote of the Day

I just wanted to do something to take my mind off the shot and let me relax a little bit. It seemed like the fans liked it. I'm glad I was able to score.

— Oilers forward Taylor Hall on lifting his arms to fire up the crowd before his penalty shot
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