Mike Green had enough time to drop to one knee and pump his right fist before Mike Ribeiro and Alex Ovechkin mobbed him between the tops of the two faceoff circles Saturday afternoon. Soon the red mass of humanity slid to the boards, as Verizon Center came unglued. The defenseman, who so often has been the Washington Capitals’ overtime hero, had done it again, this time on a postseason stage.
Green one-timed a slap shot past New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist’s glove eight minutes into overtime to give Washington a deserved 1-0 victory in Game 2 of this Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
Green’s eighth career overtime goal and first overtime playoff winner earned Washington a 2-0 series lead and kept its home ice advantage ahead of Game 3 at Madison Square Garden on Monday night. The Capitals were in this position two seasons ago and went on to beat the Rangers four games to one in the quarterfinals.
“It was an emotional game, so for us to come out on top gives us a little bit more momentum going up there, which was important,” Green said.
Rangers forward Rick Nash hit the outside of the left post with 3:48 remaining in regulation. Defender Anton Stralman did the same about four minutes into the game. Other than that, though, Holtby enjoyed a relatively stress-free afternoon.
“It wasn’t a very straining game on a goalie,” he said. “That’s all the credit to our team, especially our defensive effort. I know I can be better. There are a couple plays that could have went in, and I’ll work on those.”
The Capitals’ penalty kill earned special mention after preserving the tie early in overtime.
The Rangers didn’t get a shot on goal during their overtime power play. Washington defender Steve Oleksy flipped the puck over the glass and was penalized for delay of game, but forwards Nicklas Backstrom and Eric Fehr each blocked shots during the ensuing kill.
Fehr’s sliding block of Derick Brassard’s slap shot earned a standing ovation from the home crowd. Overall, New York totaled only two shots on goal on its three power plays Saturday.
“This might have been our best PK game all year,” Holtby said. “I think we’re just keeping it simple now. The main thing is you have to be calm on it. You want to be aggressive, but once you start running around, you get out of place. Simplify, know your job, and guys are doing a tremendous job of it right now.”
Rangers coach John Tortorella attributed his team’s lack of power play success to a lack of movement. They are scoreless on seven power plays this series.
“We’re just too stagnant,” he said. “We’re almost paralyzed.”