Nicklas Backstrom is the biggest missing piece for the Washington Capitals. Their chances of making the playoffs have eroded as the offense that runs through the center has hit a dam in his absence.

But defenseman Mike Green's return to the lineup last month was supposed to spark something, given his ability to provide scoring from the back end. Instead, Green's first nine games back from sports hernia surgery have been a painful adjustment back into playing shape.

"I'm just happy that I can play without any pain or whatnot. As far as getting my feel back, it's taken a lot longer," Green said Wednesday. "Sometimes you can lose a step or whatnot or your feel for the game, and it's taken me some time to kind of get back into it."