"You look at the history of teams that won Stanley Cups and almost all the teams have swept a series or kept it to five games," the Washington Capitals defenseman (pictured) said after practice on Wednesday. "You need a least one series to go that way."
As a franchise, the Capitals have never swept a best-of-seven series. Since Green, Alex Ovechkin and Coach Bruce Boudreau led the franchise back to the playoffs in 2007-08, all three series the Caps have participated in have gone to seven games.
"It's tough on your body and you have to make sure you sweep a round if you are going to go far," Green continued.
Ovechkin said the Capitals are healthier now as they prepare for Thursday's playoff opener against the Montreal Canadiens than this time last season. The Caps dropped the first two games to the New York Rangers in the opening round before they rallied a season ago. Washington later fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the eventual Stanley Cup champs.
"I had a problem," said Ovechkin, who battled a wrist injury in last year's playoffs. "Sasha (Alexander Semin) had a problem. Different guys were playing with broken bones and pulled groins. Now, we are healthy. This is going to help a lot."
This season, the Caps used their large cushion in the standings en route to clinching the Presidents' Trophy to their advantage.
"The last month and a half we haven't played our hardest," Ovechkin said. "We didn't check. We didn't hit or block shots because our biggest games were coming soon."
The Caps had two sweeps back when the first round was a best-of-five contest, the last coming against the New York Rangers in 1986. Boudreau, however, didn't want to talk about the need to make quick work early-round opponents.
"Our goal is to win it, even if it takes eight games," Boudreau said. "The minute you start thinking that it's important to win in four or five, you're in trouble. We're playing a really good hockey team that beat us twice this year. We anticipate a long series."
Notebook: Starting goalie Jose Theodore left practice early Wednesday after he took a puck off the leg, although Boudreau said he'd be good to go in Game 1.
"He just got a stinger," Boudreau said. "If you have ever played and get hit on the inside of the knee, it goes numb for a bit."
Boudreau said he could have returned, but they decided to hold him out of rest of practice. Theodore hasn't lost in regulation since Jan. 16. ...
Nicklas Backstrom participated in practice a day after he missed the skate due to illness.
Backstrom, who was second in scoring behind Ovechkin this season, didn't offer up what exactly caused him to miss time that led to questions about his availability for Game 1. He has missed time during his career due to migraines.
Boudreau said he expects to have Backstrom in the lineup.