Photo credit: Alex Brandon
Mike Green is a lot of things: a two-time Norris nominee, a generous human, and the beefy crush-object of thousands of women in the tri-state area. On Tuesday, however, he was a goat (and I don’t mean the Greatest of All-Time).
With five minutes to go in regulation and the game tied 2-2, Brooks Laich‘s cross-ice dump-in was swatted down by John Tavares. Tavares sent the puck into the Caps’ zone, which is where all the crazy happened. Laich sent a weak pass behind the net to Mike Green. The puck bounced off both boards and the back of the net, finally coming to rest dangerously near the crease. With Matt Moulson pressuring, Green tried to put the puck through his legs. Instead, the puck hit his skates and stopped. Moulson picked it up and fed Tavares for an easy game-winner.
After the game, Laich, according to RMNB’s Chris Gordon, said that it was his bad.
“I got caught out a little fatigued,” Brooks explained. “I wanted to send it back behind the net. I didn’t think I could get Mike direct. I didn’t want to turn one over in the middle in front of our net so I sent it behind the net. Bad angle, bad decision by myself. I put Mike in trouble.”
Laich continued. “I apologized to him after. I put [him] in a tough spot. He tries to make a play and beat the first guy and then the second guy got him. You win as a team, you lose as a team, but I can certainly make a better play to help Mike out there.”
Head Coach Adam Oates blamed both players on the turnover. “It was a tired play,” he said. “We gave them a freebie.”
Braden Holtby said of the same encounter, “It was one of those plays that hand-cuffed Greener. I was too busy looking at the play develop behind the net to see where Tavares was.”
Green did not speak to reporters after the game.
With the victory, the Islanders leapfrog the Capitals and the Carolina Hurricanes to claim ninth place in the East (though Carolina has played 2 fewer games).
Video of Tavares’ Game-Winning Goal
Additional reporting by Chris Gordon.