Detroit Red Wings
In recognition of Mike Green’s first career hat trick scored in the Detroit Red Wings’ home opener on October 17, some Capitals fans may have reminisced about his days as one of the NHL’s best offensive defensemen. This includes a streak of eight consecutive games in which he set an NHL record. Green departed the Caps just over a year ago in free agency, and was a longtime fan favorite.
He will be especially remembered for his outstanding offensive skills, which were particularly evident during the 2008-2009 season. That year, he scored goals in eight consecutive games which set a record for an NHL defenseman. NoVa Caps takes a fond look back at the historic streak.
Green began the streak on January 28 when the Caps played the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. In that game, Green scored the first goal of the game a little over two minutes into the contest, assisted by Alexander Semin and Alex Ovechkin. Unfortunately, the Caps lost that game 3-2 in Overtime.
The Caps returned home to the Verizon Center for their January 31 game against the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings. The two teams traded goals with less than two minutes to play during the first period, with Detroit scoring first and Washington countering. With less than three minutes to go in the second period, Green scored, assisted by Nicklas Backstrom and Eric Fehr. This goal put the Caps ahead 2-1. Detroit tied it up with less than a minute to play on a late power play goal. The Caps went on to win 4-2, thanks to two Ovechkin tallies.
The Caps played the second game of a back-to-back set of games at Verizon Center. This time the opponent was the Ottawa Senators. About halfway through the first period, Green scored a power play goal, assisted by Nicklas Backstrom.This particular goal knotted the game up at 1-1. The Caps went on to win the game 7-4. Green contributed two assists for a total of three points. He assisted on a power play goal by Ovechkin, less than a minute after his own goal. He assisted on an Alexander Semin goal during the second period. The final score was 7-4.
The Caps traveled to Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey on February 3 for a game against the New Jersey Devils. In this game, Green opened up the scoring with a power play goal, assisted by both Ovechkin and Semin. Green was credited with an assist on the Caps’ second goal, a power play goal by Brooks Laich. The final score was 5-2 and was the Caps’ third consecutive win.
The Caps returned home to the Verizon Center to play the Los Angeles Kings on February 5. The Caps took the lead early 1-0, but the Kings scored three unanswered goals, one during the first period, and two others early during the second period to put the Kings up 3-1; the third goal was a shorthanded goal. On that power play, Green scored to cut the deficit to one on assists from Backstrom and goaltender Jose Theodore. The Caps went on to lose the game 5-4.
Continuing their ongoing home stand, the Caps hosted the Florida Panthers on February 7. The Caps opened up the scoring early during the first period but the Panthers struck back late in the period to tie it at 1-1. Green broke the stalemate 43 seconds into a power play, with assists from Ovechkin and Semin. He added a short-handed, empty net goal with less than two minutes left in the game to give the Caps an insurance goal and a 3-1 victory.
The Caps traveled to New York to play the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Februay 11. The game was a high scoring, seesaw affair that had the Caps leading 2-1 after the first period. The Rangers tied up the game less than halfway through the second period. Green scored a go-ahead goal just past the midpoint of the period to put the Caps ahead again, assisted by Ovechkin and Backstrom.
However, the Rangers scored two goals to pull ahead. Near the end of the second period, Green added another goal, with assists from Michael Nylander and Shaone Morrisonn to tie the game again, this time at four apiece. The third period was scoreless so the game proceeded to overtime and then to a shootout. The Rangers ended up winning 5-4.
The Caps traveled to Florida as part of the Annual Fathers’ Trip, where the fathers of the players and other team personnel could travel on the road trip with their sons. The first game of this Florida road trip was in Tampa Bay on February 14, in St Petersburg Forum. It was a Happy Valentine’s Day for the Caps as they jumped off to a 3-0 lead at the end of the first period. Green added the team’s fourth goal on a power play with an assist from Semin. Both teams scored one more goal and the final score ended up being 5-1. Green’s father, David, was in the audience for that particular game and was ecstatic.
Green’s streak of eight consecutive games scoring a goal broke a record set by Mike O’Connell of the Boston Bruins during the 1983-84 season.
End of the Streak
The Caps traveled to Sunrise, Florida to play the Florida Panthers at the Bank Atlantic Center. The Florida trip continued to go well for the Capitals as they won 4-2. However, Green’s scoring streak ended at eight games. Prior to the streak, Green had scored 12 goals on the season. During the streak, he had increased his total number of goals to 22. He ended up with 31 goals and 42 assists for a total of 73 points, totals usually associated with a forward rather than a defenseman, a total made even more impressive considering the fact he missed 14 games due to injury. He became just the eighth defenseman in NHL history to score more than 30 goals in a season. He had scored 18 of his goals on the power play, one short of the record held by Sheldon Souray.
Here is Green’s hat trick:
By Diane Doyle