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Green says Capitals can rally against Rangers

Thursday, 04.23.2009 / 2:16 PM / 2009 Playoffs Conference Quarterfinals

By Adam Schwartz - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Washington Capitals are starting to become too familiar with trailing a playoff series 3-1, which is the predicament they currently are in after losing Game 4 to the New York Rangers, 2-1, Wednesday night. But Caps defenseman Mike Green is keeping the faith.

They were in the same situation last season when they trailed the Flyers 3-1 in the first round and forced a Game 7, only to lose on a power-play goal by Joffrey Lupul 6:06 into overtime. This year, the Capitals have at least 35 shots on goal in each of the four games against the Rangers.

On Thursday, Green, named a finalist for the 2009 Norris Trophy, and the Capitals meet with coach Bruce Boudreau to try to get the team back to winning.

"Being in this situation last year, we know we're not down and out," Green said. "We lost in overtime in Game 7 last year and it could've gone either way. Last year, we took a penalty and it cost us. We obviously don't want that to happen this year. Coming (Friday), we're going to make sure that we're not down and out yet."

Washington got back in their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series with the Rangers with a win in Game 3. Green said the Capitals had success because they didn't complicate their play.

"I think with Game 3 we probably played a more simple game than we've played all season," Green said on NHL Live. "Even Alex (Ovechkin) was chipping pucks in and dumping pucks and chasing them down. We were getting in behind their defense, creating plays out front. I think in Game 4 we were trying to make one too many passes in the neutral zone when we should've just gotten to the red line and dumped it in. You learn and now we know what not to do for (Friday) night."

The Capitals are hardly bereft of offensively gifted players. They have the reigning Art Ross, Hart and Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy winner in Ovechkin, plus Alexander Semin, Nicklas Backstrom and Sergei Fedorov. And Green is up for the Norris Trophy this season.

The only problem with having too much skill on a team is that the skill players try to do too much.

"Being in this situation last year, we know we're not down and out. We lost in overtime in Game 7 last year and it could've gone either way. Last year, we took a penalty and it cost us. We obviously don't want that to happen this year. Coming (Friday), we're going to make sure that we're not down and out yet." -- Mike Green

"I think at times you get a little confident and try to make too many plays," Green said. "You try to make too many passes when you shouldn't, especially if you're a skilled guy. It's easy to look for a pass instead of chip it in when you're offensive-minded. We have a few offensive-minded players of our own, but we have to get back to basics and get pucks deep."

Even though Washington has 149 shots on goal in four games this series, Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist has been sensational. What to do? The Capitals want to improve the quality of those shots.

"I think the first couple games, even Game 4, a lot of our shots came from the perimeter," Green said. "We have to get into those areas in front of the net to score goals. Lundqvist is going to stop it if he can see it. We had some chances to score and we had to bear down. I'm not sure whether or not we're gripping the stick too much."

Green also is aware that the Rangers they saw during the regular season are not the Rangers they are facing now.

"During the regular season, the Rangers are a different team than they are now," Green said. "It seems like they play with a lot more passion, but during the regular season it seemed like they had guys that didn't seem like they knew where to go. It seems like they have bought into (coach John) Tortorella and they are playing it well and they aren't making it easy on us, that's for sure."



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Quote of the Day

I don't have a crystal ball. Predicting is a real complicated thing. If we stay healthy, have enough depth and get the good goaltending we think we're going to have, you can go all the way. But a lot of things have to happen. There's going to be a lot of teams that think the same thing. Everyone made deals. We're all are optimistic about where we'll end up.

— Rangers general manager Glen Sather after being asked if he's constructed a team that can win the Stanley Cup before their 4-1 win against the Predators on Monday
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