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Green, Holtby give Capitals 2-0 series edge

by Dan Rosen

WASHINGTON -- Washington Capitals coach Adam Oates feels Mike Green is better when he thinks almost like a quarterback instead of a goal-scorer, because that's when he's most poised and typically makes intelligent decisions with the puck.

Green did just that in overtime Saturday afternoon -- and wouldn't you know, the defenseman got the puck right back and scored a series-altering, game-winning power-play goal at Verizon Center.

Green handed the puck off to Mike Ribeiro, who drew the defense to him before sliding a pass back to Green for a one-timer from a few steps inside the Stanley Cup Playoffs logo that beat New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist on the glove side eight minutes into overtime. It was all Washington needed to grab a 1-0 win in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals and a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 series.

Game 3 is Monday at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2, RDS2).

"He's so patient," Capitals goalie Braden Holtby said of Green. "He's patient in all situations. You see probably 95 percent of players, when they get the game on the line in overtime they want to get rid of it, they want to pound the puck through the net. He approached it the same way he does all the time. That's patience. You can't teach that. We're lucky to have him on our team."

Holtby finished with 24 saves, a low number considering the Rangers had a pair of power plays -- one late in regulation and another early in overtime -- that could have determined the outcome. Washington's penalty killers wouldn't let it happen.

The Capitals killed off Troy Brouwer's slashing minor with 3:44 left in regulation and Steve Oleksy's delay of game penalty for shooting the puck over the glass 1:51 into overtime. The Rangers didn't manage a shot on goal on either power play as Washington blocked five shots, including one off Derick Brassard's stick in overtime that Eric Fehr basically swallowed with his gut.

Washington is 7-for-7 on the PK in the series. Despite finishing 27th on the penalty kill during the regular season, it is 35-for-40 in the past 14 games.

"You've gotta give them credit, especially in emotional games like this, to pull through the way they did," Green said of Washington's penalty killers.

The Capitals went on the power play in overtime because Ryan McDonagh was guilty of shooting the puck over the glass from inside the defensive zone 7:09 into the extra period. McDonagh's guilty play ended a shift that lasted more than three minutes and was broken up by a timeout after the Rangers iced the puck at the 5:42 mark.

It was Washington's first power play since the 15:58 mark of the first period.

"What an effort before we got that power play by the guys that were on the ice pressuring their D," Green said. "They had no choice but to try to go off the glass and made a bad play."

McDonagh, who smacked his stick on the ice after the puck went over the glass, said fatigue was not an issue despite the long shift.

"I was trying to get the puck up to [Brian Boyle] there on the wall," he said. "Just got a little bit too under it."

Washington quickly set up its power play and worked the puck around to Green at the point. He shoveled it to Ribeiro, who faked a shot from the top of the right circle, drawing both Ryan Callahan and John Moore to him, before feeding back to Green for the 55-foot one-timer that gave him the first playoff overtime winner of his career.

In Game 1, Green shot the puck wide and wound up getting a fortunate bounce off the end boards to allow Alex Ovechkin to score a power-play goal. This time Green hit the net, just like he did to score an overtime winner against the Tampa Bay Lightning on April 13.

"He [Ribeiro] does such a great job of drawing guys to him, and obviously they're on Ovi [on the other side]," Green said. "I just happened to be open, and the goal was to get it by that first guy and try to hit the net."

Rick Nash nearly won it for the Rangers with 3:44 to play in regulation, but his shot off a power rush through the Capitals' defense hit off the left post. However, Brouwer was guilty of slashing Nash as he went past him, setting up the Rangers for a power play that did not go well.

Washington killed it off by clearing the puck down the ice four times.

"We're just too stagnant," Rangers coach John Tortorella said of his struggling power play. "We're almost paralyzed."

The Rangers wanted another power play with 45.3 seconds to play in regulation because they thought Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner should have been called for delay of game when the puck went into the stands off his stick in the defensive zone. However, the officials conferred and ruled Alzner did not commit a penalty.

Rule 63.2 states that the delay of game penalty shall be assessed "when any player, with both of his feet inside the defending zone, shoots or bats (using his hand or stick) the puck directly (non-deflected) out of the playing surface."

"I received an explanation that another player shot it and he deflected it," Oates said.

Asked about it, Tortorella simply said, "It's a rule."

It's one that didn't go the Rangers' way on Saturday because of Washington's penalty killers and Green's poise.

Oates may not want Green to think like a goal-scorer, but he is, and the Capitals lead the series because of it.

"You need guys out there who are calm," Oates said. "That's one of his gifts."


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