It's been 'Game Over' for the Caps since Mike Green's return

Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green, right, is congratulated

Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green, right, is congratulated by teammates after he scored the game-winning goal in overtime in Game 2 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series against the Rangers. (May 4, 2013) (Credit: AP )

WASHINGTON -- There's a reason Capitals defenseman Mike Green's nickname is "Game Over."

Green scored the only goal Saturday in Washington's 1-0 overtime victory over the Rangers in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series at the Verizon Center.

Green's power-play blast from the point eight minutes into overtime sent the Capitals to Madison Square Garden for Monday's Game 3 with a 2-0 series lead.

"I just happened to be open," Green said. "My goal was to get it by the first guy and try to hit the net."

Green was open because Mike Ribeiro faked two Rangers out of their skates before passing the puck to him.

"He does such a great job drawing guys to him," Green said. "And obviously they are on [Alex Ovechkin]."

Ask the Capitals and they will tell you their game really started to click this season when Green returned to the lineup from a groin injury. He led all NHL defensemen with 12 goals. But none of those was bigger than the one he scored Saturday.

Green had 10 goals and nine assists in Washington's final 19 regular-season games. The Capitals went 15-2-2 to capture the Southeast Division crown.

"He's obviously a huge part of our team," Washington coach Adam Oates said. "We talk about this a lot. It's a reason why I don't want Mike to try too hard to be a scorer during the game because we need him to have the poise back there at a key moment when it's a big power play and the place is going crazy, there's electricity. You need guys out there who are calm. That's one of his gifts."

Now Washington has a chance to end the series without playing another home game. If the Capitals don't win the next two in New York, though, they can rally around a 9-1 record in their last 10 playoff games against the Rangers at the Verizon Center.

"In any series, you want to take both games at home to start the series. Get a 2-0 lead," defenseman Steve Oleksy said. "Obviously, MSG is a tough building to play in and we are going to head in there pretty focused and keep doing what got us here."

The Capitals got 24 saves from Braden Holtby, who was not tested as much as Henrik Lundqvist (37 saves). The Rangers have scored one goal in the series.

"The penalty kill did a great job," Oates said. "I think both teams played very good hockey. Both goalies played really good."

advertisement | advertise on newsday

NHL videos

Vote

What was the biggest issue in the Rangers' Stanley Cup loss to the Kings?

Offense Defense Power play Coaching Something else

advertisement | advertise on newsday