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Green dumps safe approach for Game 5

by Dan Rosen
ARLINGTON, Va. -- Washington General Manager George McPhee told another news outlet Thursday that defenseman Mike Green was "under the weather" earlier in this series, but Friday morning Green denied that he had been sick at any point in the nine days.

Maybe it's because the Norris Trophy-finalist doesn't want to use any illness as an excuse, but Green offered a different assessment for his disappointing showing through four games against the New York Rangers based on his record-breaking regular season.

"I think I've kind of tried to change my game to play it safe and not even so much defense-first, just defense all the time," Green told "During the regular season, I usually get up the ice and it makes it tough on the other team. Maybe I'll try that (Friday night). Playing safe and playing not to lose instead of to win is not the way to play."

Green, who had 31 goals and 73 points during the regular season to earn a trip to the NHL Awards Show in Las Vegas on June 18, has no goals, two assists and a minus-3 rating against the Rangers heading into Game 5 Friday night at Verizon Center (7 p.m. ET, VERSUS, TSN, RDS).

Green said he has been too worried about making mistakes, but that won't be a problem Friday night when the Caps play what they hope is the first of three do-or-die games against the Rangers.

"It's the playoffs, if you make mistakes and it's in the back of your net," he said. "It's a whole different game, but for me I need to be that extra element on offense and maybe that's why we haven't been producing as much 5-on-5. Maybe I should start jumping up a little bit more."

Sounds reasonable, but Friday morning Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau didn't sound like someone who wanted to see Green jumping too much in a series that has been particularly low scoring.

Washington has outscored the Rangers, 8-7, through four games. The Caps averaged 3.27 goals per game in the regular season.

"We won a lot of games 5-3 and 4-3 this year where you had that opportunity, but right now we have to win games 2-1," Boudreau said. "So, Mike Green is not going to be the one that is jumping into the play and doing all those things."

He could on the power play, which needs to be great for Washington in Game 5.

The Caps were 25.2 percent on the power play during the regular season, but just 18.2 percent (4-of-22) so far in this series. They were 0-for-6 in Game 4 and Green played 9:41 on the power play.

After Game 4, Nicklas Backstrom suggested the Caps need to get more traffic in front of Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, but Green said there's a fine line between traffic and too many bodies clogging the shooting lanes.

"You can throw bodies at him, but it seems like there are so many bodies in front that it's hard to get it through," he said. "We have to find a way (Friday night)."

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