Mike Green was hard on himself for being on the ice for three of the Tampa Bay Lightning's four goals Saturday when the Washington Capitals coughed up a four-goal lead. But the defenseman made up for it in overtime with the game-winning goal on the power play.
"I had to," Green said with a laugh. "They were giving me the shots on that power play. And then I just had to take it. I just had to be confident shooting the puck."
On a power play set up when Marcus Johansson drew a penalty, Green blasted a shot past Mathieu Garon to make sure the Caps wouldn't regret letting a substantial lead slip away. In scoring his 10th goal of the season, the 27-year-old lived up to his old moniker, "Game Over Green."
"I like it," Green said. "To be honest, yeah, I think it's a good name. I'll take it, for sure."
Green scored the game-winning goal for the second straight contest. It was also the 16th of his NHL career.
Coach Adam Oates said the looks Green got on the four-on-three power play were quality ones, and the defenseman managed to get off a great shot.
"You could tell he wanted to shoot one in," said right wing Eric Fehr, who picked up an assist on Green's game winner. "So he took a couple chances. Luckily we were able to put one in."
Oates said his system is designed for defensemen to have success. Jack Hillen showed that in scoring his second goal of the season against the Lightning.
But that much ice to work with in overtime is perfect for a playmaker like Green.
"I enjoy that," he said. "We got so many skilled guys and sometimes it's the sneaky defenseman that kind of nobody's looking for that is able to sneak in there."
Third line excels
The third line of Jason Chimera, Mathieu Perreault and Fehr combined for two goals and two assists at even strength Saturday. Little did the Caps know that their production would be vital in a 6-5 victory because those goals made it 4-0 and 5-1.
"Definitely didn't think that at the time," Fehr said.
The top line of Johansson, Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin has carried the Caps through most of this stretch of 11 victories in 13 games. But there have been solid performances down the lineup.
It was the third line's turn against Tampa Bay.
"I'm glad that those guys have been rewarded because they've played real good hockey for us lately," Oates said. "And they deserve it."
Perreault picked up two assists and Chimera scored his second goal of the season on a perfect tic-tac-toe passing play on the rush.
"It felt like we were getting a scoring chance every shift," Fehr said. "We felt a lot better, and we were finally able to put the puck in the net, which is always good as well."
Volpatti suffers cut
Tough guy Aaron Volpatti left Saturday's game in pain after using his right leg to block a third-period shot from Lightning defenseman Radko Gudas. Volpatti did not return but reported being OK afterward.
"It's fine," Volpatti said. "A little pressure cut."
Volpatti played well in his 8:21 of ice time on the fourth line. As long as the cut isn't an issue, the left wing should play again Tuesday against the Toronto Maple Leafs unless Joel Ward is ready to return.
Ward has missed the past three games with a bruised left knee after blocking a shot from Lightning defenseman Sami Salo on April 7.
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