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The Washington Capitals already have a gifted goal-scoring forward in Alexander Ovechkin. They may have one emerging on the blue line in Mike Green.
The Capitals try to continue their recent scoring binge and win for the fourth time in five games when they host the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night.
Washington (17-20-5) is 11-6-4 since ending a five-game losing streak with a 4-3 victory over Philadelphia on Nov. 23, but is tied for last in the Eastern Conference with Tampa Bay. Washington's offense has been inconsistent in winning three of its last four games - scoring 19 in the victories and getting shut out in the defeat.
Green has made significant contributions in each victory, most recently registering the game-winning goal and two assists in a 5-4 overtime victory at Montreal on Sunday. The third-year player has three goals, five assists and is plus-5 in the wins while taking four penalty minutes and having a minus-1 rating in the loss.
"I'm getting that question asked an awful lot lately and pretty soon he's going to be pretty well known," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said when asked about Green, who has 11 goals. "I think he leads the league in goals for defensemen now and he's getting better and better offensively.
"He had a little bit of an off-day defensively but usually he's dead on in that as well. He's a great young player and I don't know too many defensemen his age that can do what he can do at the NHL level."
While Green, who had only three goals in 92 games in his first two seasons, has been getting platitudes for his offense, Boudreau also noted his blue-line partner - Shaone Morrisonn - has provided a stellar defensive presence to give Green chances to jump into plays.
"Some guys have good chemistry, they seem to work," the Capitals coach said. "We've given Mo the job of shutting down the opposing team's best forwards. He's embraced it and done a great job with it. He allows Green more freedom offensively."
Ovechkin, who had two goals in Sunday's victory, has 13 goals and 10 assists in Washington's 19 home games.
As the Capitals are scoring goals in bunches, the Avalanche (22-17-3) has scored 119 goals, which puts it in the middle of the pack in the league.
But coach Joel Quenneville's team has been held to three or fewer goals in each of its last six games, failing to score with the man advantage in any of them, including Tuesday's 1-0 loss at Detroit.
The Avalanche was unable to convert on its lone power-play opportunity, falling to 0-for-17 over its last six games, and it is 3-for-44 (6.8 percent) on the power play in its last 13 games.
Colorado is making its first trip to Washington since a 2-1 loss March 16, 2003. The Capitals have gone 5-1-1 with one tie in the last eight meetings overall.
|Jan 09 '08||COL 1 at WSH 2||D. Steckel|