NEWARK, N.J. -- Here were the Washington Capitals, with fading Stanley Cup Playoff hopes, backing up in a tie game Friday at Prudential Center, the clock dipping under five minutes to play in the third period.
Mike Green was defending as the New Jersey Devils were charging. He saw the play developing right in front of him. He might see it in his nightmares now.
"He just got the puck in the middle, I came over, he pulled it and shot," Green said outside the visitors dressing room following Washington's 2-1 loss, his voice trailing off as he spoke quietly.
Green was hoping a pass by Devils defenseman Marek Zidlicky, a nearly 2-foot beauty of a saucer, wouldn't make it to forward Ryan Carter, but it did. Green thought Carter might struggle to settle it down, but he didn't. Instead of moving far enough over to put his body in Carter's shooting lane, Green reached out his stick with his left hand, waving it, hoping Carter's shot would hit the shaft and the puck would go astray.
It went in the net, underneath goalie Jaroslav Halak's left pad with 4:54 remaining.
"You can't blame one guy, you can't blame one play," Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin said. "You can see we have a good game, but one break cost us two points, or a point."