NEW YORK - Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green will not play Sunday against the New York Rangers with a lower-body injury, according to head coach Adam Oates.
Green suffered the injury in the final minutes of Washington's 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning Thursday. He practiced Saturday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, but left the ice after about 15 minutes. Oates said that he hopes that Sunday's game is the only one Green will miss; the Capitals don't play again until Thursday.
The 27-year-old defenseman is far and away Washington's ice time leader, averaging 26:33 per game, sixth-most in the NHL. According to defenseman Karl Alzner, it will take a collective effort by the remaining defenseman to fill the void left by Green.
"That's the way we always look at it when a guy of that caliber is out because not one single person can replace a guy like him," Alzner said. "It's important that the guys that their game is geared towards [offense and moving the puck] -- Kundy [Tomas Kundratek], Carly [John Carlson] -- that they pick it up and fill in for what Greenie does, but in my opinion, the hardest thing to replace is the way he can kind of carry the puck out of the zone, first pass, that kind of thing, especially against a team like the Rangers who forecheck hard. It's important to have that. He's gonna be missed."
Tom Poti will replace Green in the lineup.
Meanwhile, forward Joel Ward was the only healthy player who did not take part in this morning's optional skate at Madison Square Garden. He, however, will play, according to Oates.
Braden Holtby will start against the Rangers. He went 3-4 with a 2.14 GAA and .929 SV% during Washington's seven-game playoff series against New York last spring.
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