WASHINGTON -- While Capitals defenseman Mike Green has earned the nickname of "Game Over" Green due to the 16 game-winning goals in his career -- including seven overtime game-winners in the regular season -- he did something he hadn't done in his career before on Saturday afternoon: score an overtime goal in the playoffs.
But Green ended that streak Saturday afternoon in Game 2 of Washington's first-round series against the Rangers, scoring the game-winner on a shot that eluded Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist exactly eight minutes into the extra session, ending a scoreless game and sending the crowd at Verizon Center into a frenzy. The Capitals also now hold a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series as it heads north to Madison Square Garden on Monday.
With Washington getting a power play thanks to a delay-of-game penalty on New York with 7:20 elapsed in the extra session, Green passed the puck to Mike Ribeiro from the center of the ice 40 seconds into the extra-man. Ribeiro faked a shot and fed Green right under the "Stanley Cup Playoffs" logo inside the blue line, and the Calgary native shot the puck by Lundqvist for the only goal in the game.
"I just seen he looked on the one side of the guy, and shot the other side," Green said of the winner. "Just got lucky."
"[Ribeiro] does such a great job of drawing guys to him and obviously they are on [Alex Ovechkin], so I just happened to be open and my goal was to get it by the first guy and try and hit the net," he added.
For a player that has had mixed playoff success in the past, due to injuries or other factors, this is certainly a chance for him to make a significant contribution in the current Capitals' run. Green now has eight playoff goals, but none bigger than the one today.
"He's obviously a huge part of our team," head coach Adam Oates said at his presser. "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, place is going crazy, there's electricity.
"You need guys out there who are calm. That's one of his gifts."
Green has been integral to the Capitals in recent seasons, helping quarterback the power-play and giving Washington another dimension on the blueline. He led all defensemen in goals this season with 12, 10 of them coming after he returned from injury back on March 21.
He is able to distribute the puck and offer up a good shot from the point, and since returning he's shown flashes of the player that was a Norris Trophy finalist in both 2009 and 2010.
Thanks to Green's timely tally, Washington is now in the driver's seat, holding a 2-0 series lead for the first time since 2011, when they jumped all over the Rangers en route to a five-game series win.