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Green mark as Caps strike Lightning

MIKE Green set a National Hockey League record for defensemen with a goal in his eighth successive game to power the Washington Capitals to a 5-1 rout of the Tampa Bay Lightning in Tampa on Saturday.

Green staked the Southeast Division leaders to a 4-0 lead with his powerplay goal 5:33 into the second period to beat the previous mark of goals in seven consecutive games that Boston's Mike O'Connell achieved during the 1983-84 season.

Green's teammates rushed the ice and mobbed the 23-year-old after the record-breaker.

"I wasn't really expecting that," Green told reporters. "It almost brought a tear to my eye."

Green now has 22 goals and 28 assists to lead league defensemen.

"He could have had Mickey Mouse as his coach and he was eventually going to be a great hockey player," Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said.

Green said it was especially pleasing to set the record with his father Dave watching in the stands. "I can't wait to give him a hug. That one was for him."

The victory was the eighth in a row for Washington over Tampa Bay.

In other NHL games, it was: Predators 3, Bruins 2, SO; Blackhawks 6, Stars 2; Flames 7, Coyotes 5; Blue Jackets 5, Hurricanes 1; Oilers 3, Kings 2; Maple Leafs 6, Penguins 2; Senators 5, Wild 3; and Flyers 5, Islanders 1.

In Tampa, Alexander Semin, Alex Ovechkin and Shaone Morrisonn had first-period goals for the Capitals and Eric Fehr capped off the scoring in the third.

Semin notched his 21st goal of the season 5:02 into the opening period with Ovechkin following about eight minutes later off an assist by his Russian teammate. The goal was Ovechkin's league-leading 38th of the season.

Morrisonn scored his goal with 40 seconds left in the first.

Semin assisted on Green's second-period goal before Ryan Malone put Tampa Bay on the scoreboard.

Michal Neuvirth, just 20 years old, recorded his first NHL victory in goal for Washington. He had 31 saves in his maiden start.

"I still can't believe that," the Czech netminder said. "That was my best feeling ever."

Tampa Bay's Mike McKenna lasted only one period, giving up three goals on 12 shots. Karri Ramo finished in net, making 18 saves on 20 shots. "I wish I would have been a lot better in the first," McKenna said. "(We) could have used a big save or two early on there."

Washington extended its lead in the Southeast Division to 11 points and moved level with New Jersey for the Eastern Conference's second-best record.

Green has 10 goals and 17 points in the eight games, and is one game away from tying the overall Washington consecutive game goal streak.


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