Well they don’t call him “Game Over Greenie” for nothing.
After being on the ice for what the Columbus fans thought was the Blue Jackets winning goal with 4:25 remaining in regulation, Mike Green took the game over for Washington.
#52 went end to end on an amazing rush to set up Troy Brouwer for his skate tying goal with three minutes left in regulation.
Then, on the opening shift in overtime, Greenie took the biscuit in the neutral zone and flew around Jack Johnson to set up a streaking Eric Fehr in the slot for the game winner just 42 seconds into the extra frame. It was another top notch pass that only a few NHL players can make and it allowed the Capitals to get a win after blowing an early 2-0 lead.
Wow. This was one exciting game that was filled with animosity and emotion, exactly what you want in an NHL tilt.
The Blue Jackets came in as winners of seven straight, but the Caps were entering the contest with a 4-0-2 mark in their last six.
Washington TOTALLY dominated the first period and led, 2-0, before an iffy call on Alex Ovechkin in period two put Columbus on the power play. The Blue Jackets scored there and then on another man advantage as the Caps seemed to forget that at even strength they were the better club. For the night, the Caps out shot attempted Columbus 67-41, and CBus had the extra power play too.
That second period was a crazy one with three fights and Washington losing their heads (see John Carlson’s high hit on Ryan Johansen). The Capitals need to learn that the referees really are mostly incompetent so they should just do their best to ignore them and play the game. Instead, Washington got frustrated and away from their game plan, which Columbus wanted since the Caps are the superior team.
That ploy by Todd Richards’ club nearly paid off as the home team in the ugly third jerseys took 3-2 and 4-3 leads in the third period. But Washington showed resilience and Green and company were determined not to lose. It was an impressive performance in a barn that is loud and has a crazy cannon. The Caps, just a year ago with a much weaker defense and a poor coach, were run out of Nationwide Arena twice in games that were not close at all.
So on Twitter (@EdFrankovic) today I called this game a benchmark one for Washington, like I labeled the Islander back to back tilts around Thanksgiving. The Capitals record in those three games is now 2-0-1 with two of those tilts on the road. In each case, the Capitals carried the play against an opponent that was playing well coming into the game.
This team, when it wants to work, is pretty darned good.
However, when they get complacent or lose their focus, like they did in period two tonight, they play very poorly.
Fortunately for Washington, they kept working, even after the lazy shift that gave Columbus the 4-3 lead.
Green and his teammates were relentless and they deserved the “W” for that effort, which included going to the net and rattling a super goalie in Sergie Bobrovsky (31 saves).
The Caps are now 15-10-6 and back in 3rd place in the Metropolitan division. More importantly, they are now 7-1-2 in the division. Washington is also 14-1-2 when scoring first.
A good start and a highlight reel finish by Green was the recipe for success on Thursday night.
Notes: Ovechkin was great but held without a point. He had 14 shot attempts (6 SOG), 3 hits, and was +2 in 22:03 of ice time…Michael Latta had one of his best games ever with two assists. He was physical all night…Karl Alzner had a goal and an assist in one of his better games this season…Green is an unrestricted free agent after this season. The Capitals have really improved their blue line but it would not be as solid if they lost #52. Resigning Green needs to be a priority.