"He didn't look comfortable on a lot of shots, let's just put it that way," Boudreau said dryly.
Gleason missed a chunk of the game after taking a puck in the face early on by Alex Ovechkin (two assists), needing a reported 30 stitches to close up the gash on his face. He returned wearing a full face shield. Gleason was the player last week Ovechkin took his kneeing major penalty against, which earned him a two-game suspension.
But for Green, netting the game-winner made all the difference.
"I got lucky there and was just excited it went in," Green said. "I didn't have a great game, so it's a great feeling."
"He was the first one that came up to me after the game and apologized," Boudreau said of Green. "I said no need to apologize, you know? Really good players, if they're having a bad game, still have a tendency to step up and be in the limelight at some point on a positive note."
After outshooting Carolina 14-4 in the first period, but trailing on the scoresheet 2-0, Alexander Semin decided to put the team on his shoulders in the second period. The enigmatic winger cut the deficit in half with a nifty wrist shot that went through defenseman Brett Carson and over Ward's shoulder.
Then, on a semi-breakaway, Semin fended off the defender and got off a soft shot that Ward batted with his blocker, but it went right back to Semin, who poked it past the sprawled goaltender with 0.6 seconds remaining in the frame.
Even though the Caps out shot Carolina 14-4 in the first period (and 40-19 overall), the Canes easily could have had four or five goals, chased Theodore early, and made life miserable for a team that has to turn right around and get on a plane for Toronto immediately after the game.
The Caps dodged that bullet, however, and hold onto the mantle of best record in hockey at 20-6-6, and now have a three point lead in the conference.