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Green ties record, Rangers get big win

by John Kreiser
Mike Green got two goals and a piece of history. The New York Rangers got two points they desperately needed.

Green scored twice in the second period, giving the Washington defenseman a seven-game goal-scoring streak that matches the NHL record set by Boston's Mike O'Connell in 1983-84. Green's second goal, a laser from near the boards wide of the right circle at 19:02, pulled the Caps even at 4-4.

"Things just seem to be rolling lately," Green said. "It feels pretty special. I honestly didn't even realize (the record) until yesterday. I tried not to think about it before the game, but I'm pretty happy right now."

However, after a scoreless third period and overtime, Ryan Callahan's goal in the fourth round of the shootout gave the Rangers a 5-4 win, snapping a five-game losing streak that had turned them from contenders for an Atlantic Division title to a team worried about making the playoffs.

After Nigel Dawes put the Rangers ahead by beating Jose Theodore in the first round of the shootout, Alex Ovechkin zipped a shot past Henrik Lundqvist in the third round to extend the breakaway competition, but Callahan took a shot that beat Theodore and hit the crossbar before deflecting off the goaltender's back and trickling into the net.

"To be honest, I thought when it hits the crossbar and comes back out it's no play," a disappointed Theodore said of Callahan's knock-hockey special. "I didn't really try to get out of the way because for me it was no goal.

"Obviously, I was wrong, so it's a lesson that I learned, I guess."

New York coach Tom Renney admitted he wasn't aware of the rule either.

"No, not at all," he said. "But I'm OK with it."

Lundqvist then stopped Brooks Laich to end the Rangers' slide. New York improved to 9-3 in shootouts and ended an 0-4-1 skid in which the Rangers had been outscored 22-5.

"We really needed that," said Lundqvist, who made 26 saves. "We needed that confidence. We needed those points, too."

Green tied O'Connell's record and put the Capitals ahead 3-2 by beating Henrik Lundqvist with a hard, rising wrist shot from just inside the top of the right circle at 10:32. Ovechkin, the Capitals' leading scorer, retrieved the puck for Green and flipped it into the Washington bench for safekeeping.

"That's pretty special," Caps coach Bruce Boudreau said of Green's accomplishment. "He's a pretty special guy."

But the Rangers, who had lost their three previous meetings with Washington this season, bounced back quickly. Markus Naslund tied it 67 seconds later by following the puck into the net with a skates-first slide. Dawes raced up right wing and fed a pass into the crease that Naslund steered into Theodore with his stick. He fell at the same time and pushed himself and the puck into the net, scoring a goal that stood up to video review.

Paul Mara then put the Rangers ahead for the second time, beating Theodore at the 16-minute mark with a hard slap shot from above the left circle to make it 4-3.

But Green's second goal, his career-best 21st of the season, tied the score. Green has two goals in back-to-back consecutive games and has six straight multipoint performances -- a feat accomplished by only three other defensemen: Paul Coffey, Bourque and Bobby Orr. He's scored 9 goals and 16 points during his streak.

"If you don't shoot, you’re not going to score," he said. "Right now, if it's on my stick, I'm shooting it. When you feel good -- and right now I feel really good -- I'm going to take the shot."

The Caps survived penalty troubles in the third period. They had to kill off five minors, including a 5-on-3 power play for 36 seconds and a 5-on-4 advantage for another 3:24 after Shaone Morrisonn drew a double minor for high sticking with Green already in the box for batting the puck into the crowd. The Rangers, who've struggled with the extra man all season, finished 0-for-6 on the power play and are in a 1-for-23 slump.

New York, which was shut out in New Jersey on Monday, opened the scoring at 7:33 of the first period when Callahan took a perfect cross-ice feed from Lauri Korpikoski near the right post and easily steered the puck in for his 13th goal. Washington's Tomas Fleischmann tied it at 10:51 and then earned the primary assist on Eric Fehr's goal with 1:52 remaining in the first period that gave the Capitals their first lead of the game.

Korpikoski tied it again at 8:49 of the second period, knocking in a loose puck after Marc Staal's shot had hit him in front of Theodore.

"Things just seem to be rolling lately. It feels pretty special. I honestly didn't even realize (the record) until yesterday. I tried not to think about it before the game, but I'm pretty happy right now." -- Mike Green

"It felt like a playoff game out there," Green said. "I think we're happy with the point. Obviously we wanted that second one, but we played well."

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

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