- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 12, 2009

Mike Green didn’t have his best night at the defensive end — but he made up for it.

Green’s goal with 3:44 left in overtime propelled the Washington Capitals to a 4-3 overtime victory Friday night against the lowly Carolina Hurricanes at Verizon Center.

Tim Gleason took an Alex Ovechkin shot off his face from close range and missed a large chunk of the second period, but he returned with a full shield on his helmet and he leveled the score at 3-3. With his team short-handed, Gleason picked off a pass by Mike Green and skated it from one faceoff circle to the other before hammering a slap shot past Jose Theodore with 6:30 remaining in the third period to force the extra session.

Tomas Fleischmann gave Washington its first lead of the night 2:52 into the final period. Mathieu Perreault protected the puck in the left corner on a delayed penalty against Carolina, and after extra attacker Ovechkin cut through the slot he sent a pass to Fleischmann at the edge of the right circle.

It was Fleischmann’s 11th goal of the season — and only the second game he has scored in with Ovechkin also in the lineup. Perreault also broke an eight-game pointless streak.

Mike Knuble returned to the Washington lineup after missing 12 games with a broken finger, so he replaced Semin on the top line after the Caps were shut out Wednesday in Buffalo.

Bruce Boudreau put the trio of Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Semin back together again in the second period with his team struggling to generate offense, and they produced a pair of goals to even the score.

Ovechkin fed Semin for his 12th of the season at 13:07 of the period. Jeff Schultz made the play possible by keeping the puck in the zone at the blue line, and Semin’s shot sailed through Brett Carson’s legs and by Cam Ward just inches from his left ear.

Backstrom sprung Semin on a one-on-one with time winding down in the period. Gleason was able to separate Semin from the puck, but Ward pushed it back onto Semin’s stick with his blocker as Gleason slid helplessly into the right corner.

Semin snapped a shot into the net with Ward prone on the ice and just 0.6 seconds left on the clock. He now has 21 goals in 25 career games against the Hurricanes.

The Caps outshot the Hurricanes 14-4 in the first period, but Carolina proved to be opportunistic. Seconds after Green went to the ice clutching his face in the offensive end, Jiri Tlusty completed a two-on-one at the other end with his first goal since being acquired from Toronto earlier this month.

Green was able to get up after a high hit from Andrew Alberts but opted to skate to the bench instead of trying to get back into the play. Tlusty deposited a perfect pass from Brandon Sutter at 2:01 on Carolina’s first shot of the game.

Eric Staal made it a two-goal advantage at 13:53. Staal went behind the Caps net and tried to stuff the puck to the left of Jose Theodore. Jeff Schultz prevented his first attempt from getting to the goalie, but Staal’s second whack trickled off Theodore’s shoulder and the inside of the post before going just over the goal line.

It was only Staal’s fourth goal of the season in 21 games — he had scored 153 in the previous four seasons.

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