He took a hit from Derek Stepan in February 2011 that sent him out for the duration of the 2010-11 regular season. (A slap shot to his head off the stick of Pittsburgh Penguins defensemen Brooks Orpik initially sent Green out of the lineup last season.) Rangers defenseman Matt Gilroy caught Green in the head with a slap shot in Game 5 of the first round that knocked him out of the contest, although he returned in the second round last year.
All those injuries and the passage of time from his 76-point 2009-10 season have moved Green not only outside of the conversation when the league's elite defensemen are mentioned, but he's also behind Karl Alzner and John Carlson on his own team.
"We needed that today," Capitals rookie goalie Braden Holtby said. "(In the) past we've kind of been relying on our character guys, and it's great to see those guys have good games. Especially Greenie. He's been working hard and doing all the little things right and to see it rewarded on the stat sheet is huge."
Backstrom, like Green, has battled through his own concussion issues that kept him out of 40 games this season. Then there's Saturday's other star, who might again run afoul of league rules put in place to limit head injuries.
It looked like one of Ovechkin's oft-replayed goal celebrations as he left his feet in the second period. The problem was the Capitals captain wasn't throwing himself into the boards to commemorate a tally. He had launched his body into Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi.
Replays showed that the original point of contact might have been Girardi's shoulder, but Girardi was slow to get off the ice. A charging minor was called on the play and the league office will no doubt review the incident for supplemental discipline.
Ovechkin has been suspended three times in the past three seasons over dangerous hits, including a three-game ban in January for a collision with Pittsburgh's Zbynek Michalek.
Ovechkin told reporters he hit only Girardi's shoulder.
"I just missed the puck," Ovechkin said. "I tried to kick the puck and I saw he was coming, so I just tried to protect myself."