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Oklahoma City Barons: Do-it-all captain Josh Green has come to life in playoffs

Heading into the Barons' Western Conference semifinal series which begins Thursday night against the Texas Stars, Green's nine playoff points lead the American Hockey League.
By Mike Baldwin Published: May 8, 2013

Team captain Josh Green, the Barons' 35-year-old veteran forward, provides intangibles. He works as hard as anyone on the roster and is an invaluable leader in the locker room.

But in a first-round playoff series against Charlotte, Green filled up the stat sheet.

Heading into the Barons' Western Conference semifinal series, which begins Thursday night against the Texas Stars, Green's nine playoff points lead the American Hockey League.

“I really like this time of year. It kind of brings out the best in me,” Green said. “But I've been getting some bounces as well. And I'm playing with some really good linemates. I feel really good. Hopefully it continues.”

Finishing the regular season 13-3-3 and having their captain playing at an extremely high level are reasons the Barons believe they can win a best-of-7 series against the No. 1 seeded Stars.

“Greeny is doing everything,” said Barons coach Todd Nelson. “He's part of special teams on both the power play and penalty kill. We feel pretty good to have our captain lead by example. Everybody else can follow. He shows the young guys the intensity it takes to win in the playoffs.”

Green understandably has lost a step. After all he's played 866 professional games, close to 1,000 if you include playoffs. He's not the same player who once played in 341 NHL games with eight different teams.

Playing on OKC's No. 3 line, Green leading the playoffs in scoring is a testament to his resolve.

“It's nice to see your name at the top but if we don't move on it's not going to be there very long,” Green said. “The only thing that matters to me is getting wins. If I can contribute offensively that's great. But I think I can help the team in other ways even when I'm not scoring.”

Green's primary role is to be a hard-to-move pest around the goal. How the Barons fare in the crease could be critical against Texas goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp, who allowed only five goals in a first-round series against Milwaukee.

“We'd be kidding ourselves if we think we can score at the same rate we did in the first round,” Green said. “This will definitely be tighter, more of a low-scoring series. We just need to go to the net and get traffic in front of him.

“The best way to beat a hot goaltender is to not let him see the puck and put as many shots on him as you can.”

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When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday

Where: Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, Texas

Radio: KXXY-FM 96.1 Jim Byers play-by-play.

Scouting report: This will be Game 1 of a best-of-7 Western Conference semifinal series. The Texas Stars are the top seed, but the No. 5 Barons won eight of 12 regular-season meetings, although five wins were when Jordan Eberle and three other Edmonton young stars were in OKC during the NHL lockout. ... The Barons have four of the top five scorers in the playoffs — Josh Green (nine points); Teemu Hartikainen (eight); Toni Rajala (eight) and Mark Arcobello (seven). ... Barons goaltender Yann Danis recorded a franchise record 49 saves in Game 5 in a first-round series finale against Charlotte. ... Danis is 14-4-4 with a 2.07 goals against average and .925 saves percentage since returning from Edmonton two months ago. ... Texas goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp recorded a 0.96 GAA and .963 saves percentage in the first round against Milwaukee. ... Kevin Connauton (two goals, two assists) was the Stars' leading scorer in their first playoff series.


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