Capitals see silver lining in Green

Capitals see silver lining in Green
February 19, 2012, 3:20 pm
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It was a loss and a crushingone, but the Capitals 2-1 defeat in TampaSaturday night came with an incredibly bright silver lining.Defenseman Mike Green was notonly in the lineup for the first time since Jan. 7, he saw 14:14 of ice timeand came away happy with the way his surgically repaired abdomen responded. "It took some time in the first period to get myfeel back, but I felt really good," Green told reporters. "After Igot going in the first period, going into the second and third, I feltbetter."The Capitals remain on theoutside of the Stanley Cup playoff picture, one point behind the eighth-placeToronto Maple Leafs. But the return of Green to a team that desperately missedhis puck moving cannot be understated.Green played briefly on thepower play and on the penalty kill and will see both roles increased when theCaps resume their four-game road trip Monday night in Carolina.Coach Dale Hunter decided todress seven defensemen in Greens long-awaited return to the lineup but that islikely to change in Carolinawhen Jeff Schultz is likely to come out of the lineup.Schultz logged 15:49 of icetime Saturday night and could be on the trading block prior to the Feb. 27 NHLtrade deadline.Greens return leaves the Capitals with slightly under 1 million in cap space, a number that would swell slightly if the Caps reassign Keith Aucoin to the AHL Bears.