Capitals' D quick to adjust minus Green

Capitals' D quick to adjust minus Green
February 6, 2011, 8:54 pm
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Sunday, February 6, 2011, 3:58 p.m.

By Ryan OHalloran
Staff writer


Leave it to Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau to accurately summarize why Mike Green missed the final two periods of Sundays 3-0 win over Pittsburgh.

When you get hit in the head with a puck, youre going to have a headache, Boudreau said.

The Capitals made it two straight wins over the Penguins and two straight overall even though Green was limited 7 minutes, 10 seconds of ice time after getting hit in the right ear by Brooks Orpiks slap shot as the first period expired.

Green was motionless for several seconds and when he was helped to his skates, he left a pool of blood behind.

Fortunately for the Capitals, it appears that Green did not sustain a concussion.

Green was in front of goalie Michal Neuvirth when he turned his head to avoid getting hit square in the face.

Everything happened so quick, he said. My head was ringing a little bit. I was a little unbalanced coming off the ice but then I was fine.

Green said his injury is just a cut.

Feel good, he said. Its unfortunate I couldnt come back but Im all stitched up and hopefully Ill be able to play in the next game Tuesday against San Jose.

Already without the injured Tom Poti, the Capitals had to adjust on the fly without Green, who averages more than 26 minutes of playing time per game. The result was their fourth shutout of the year.

When one of your teammates go down, another one picks it up, Boudreau said.

The Capitals five healthy defensemen had to transition on the fly.

For Scott Hannan, it meant being on the ice with Karl Alzner or Jeff Schultz.

For John Carlson, it meant manning the blue line alongside Alex Ovechkin on the first power play unit.

And for Alzner and John Erskine, it meant playing with Schultz and Carlson, respectively.

It was toughest in the defensive zone because youre so used to playing one side and then youre switching to the other, Alzner said. We threw a few pucks away but you have to make it work.

All but Schultz saw an uptick in ice time compared to their season average: Erskine (15:02 entering game, played 18:00), Hannan (18:35, 24:01), Alzner (18:35, 19:29) and Carlson (22:01, 27:46).

Carlsons total was a game and career high.

Pittsburgh managed only 22 shots, its fewest total since Nov. 10.

The last two games have been big for us and to win today is great, Green said. It shows we have a lot of character and were starting to get our mojo back.

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