Get ready for some history on Saturday
Saturday's game with the Capitals has a neat little subplot. Washington's Mike Green, a 23-year-old from Calgary, needs a goal against the Lightning to become the first NHL defenseman to score goals in eight straight games. Pretty amazing that players such as Bobby Orr, Paul Coffey, Denis Potvin and Ray Bourque never did that. in fact, Green is tied with Mike O'Connell, who scored in seven straight games for the 1983-84 Bruins.
We'll have a story in Saturday's paper about it, but thought these facts were worth noting.
Green entered Friday leading all defensemen with 21 goals and 49 points. He led all players with 23 points since Jan. 10, and on his seven-game scoring streak has nine goals and 15 points. Imagine, Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said, had Green not missed 13 games with a shoulder injury. "He would be among the top-10 scorers in the league."
Lightning coach Rick Tocchet said Green's shot is "one of the best in the league. As much as (Alex) Ovechkin can shoot the puck, Mike Green can shoot some peas out there."
Another amazing stat: In 113 games under former coach Glen Hanlon, Green had six goals, 22 points and was minus-26. In 103 games since, under Boudreau, Green has 36 goals, 98 points and is plus-37. Not a huge surprise. Boudreau had Green in AHL Hershey where they won the 2006 Calder Cup.
Green, who had stints with the Capitals starting in 2005-06, was close with fellow defenseman Jamie Heward, now with the Lightning. Green called Heward "a mentor" and still carries with him some of the lessons Heward taught and "respect for the game."
Anyway, check it out tomorrow and perhaps see a little bit of history.
Other news from Friday: The team sent forward Paul Szczechura to AHL Norfolk, presumably to get some playing time after missing 12 games with a knee injury. ... Defenseman Paul Ranger (upper body) went on injured reserve, retroactive to Feb. 4. That was more a procedural move as the team had to take Szczechura off IR in order to send him to Norfolk. Since Tampa Bay was at the 23-man roster limit, putting Ranger on IR opened a spot for Szczechura. Ranger, since he is retroactive to Feb. 4, already is eligible to come off IR. ... Right wing Marty St. Louis was excused from Friday's practice because he was not feeling well, the team said. ... Others not practicing for "body maintenance" were Mark Recchi, Gary Roberts, Matt Smaby and Cory Murphy. All are expected to play Saturday, coach Rick Tocchet said. ... Tocchet also said Steve Downie, held out of Thursday's game because of a lower-body injury, should be able to play against the Capitals. ... Mike McKenna will start in goal.