Mike Green said he didn’t think he’d miss a beat.
“It’ll take a couple shifts but no longer than that,” the Capitals’ All-Star defenseman proclaimed Wednesday morning.
He was right. Green was hardly eased into Game 1 of the playoffs – his first full-speed NHL action since Feb. 25 – and managed to hold his own against the Rangers.
“I thought his first period might have been as good as he has played in a playoff game,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “I thought it was outstanding for a guy that hasn’t played in six weeks to come back in a game like that.”
Green played 26 minutes, 30 seconds – obviously not aided by the Caps and Rangers going to overtime before Alexander Semin won it 18:24 into the extra session.
For his part, Green said he felt “great” in his first game back. Skating with John Erskine and also getting some power-play time, he wasn’t quite the fear-inducing Green who piled up the points in seasons past, but he was solid.
That’s exactly what the Caps wanted out of him all along – at least for now.
“He’s a guy we’ve missed,” fellow defenseman John Carlson said Wednesday morning. “He brings a lot of energy and a lot of skill to the game. He can only help us.”
Green managed an assist on Alex Ovechkin’s tying goal – and helped in more ways than that. And for a guy who suffered a concussion by getting hit in the head with a puck, Green even got in the way of four shots – just one piece of the Caps’ Game 1 win.