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Caps disagree with call on waved-off goal


Caps disagree with call on waved-off goal

NEW YORK – The Capitals still believe it was a goal.

The game officials, obviously, disagreed.

With 2:08 remaining in the second period of a scoreless game, Joel Ward parked himself in front of Henrik Lundqvist and got into a bit of a shoving match with Rangers center Derek Stepan. While they were tussling in front of the goal crease, Caps defenseman Matt Niskanen cranked a shot from the point.

The shot appeared to hit Ward in the shoulder and the puck popped into the air and landed in the net, a few feet away from Lundqvist, who had been bumped out of his crease by Ward.

Despite Ward’s celebratory leap and a loud cheer from the Caps bench, referee Kevin Pollock immediately waved off the goal.

“They just said there was incidental contact,” Caps coach Barry Trotz said after the Caps’ 2-1 overtime loss, which sends the second-round series back to Washington for a critical Game 6 at Verizon Center. “We felt that obviously, he was pushed in [by Stepan]. They made the call and that was it. We just deal with it and move on.

“On that one, I felt two things: that Lundqvist came outside the blue [paint] and engaged a little bit of contact, and then Ward was pushed in.”

RELATED: Alan May weighs in on controversial negated Ward goal

The series’ designated officiating manager, former NHL referee Rob Shick,  said he supported Pollock’s on-ice ruling. Since incidental contact is a non-reviewable matter, the NHL war room in Toronto was not consulted on the play.

“The goaltender wasn't allowed to play his position in the crease,” Shick said. “Incidental contact [by Ward]. I support the call. Results in no goal, no penalty."

The Caps nearly scored minutes after the non-goal, with Lundqvist stopping Jason Chimera on another deceptive pass from Evgeny Kuznetsov from behind the net.

“The guys did a good job of bouncing back from that,” Caps defenseman Karl Alzner said, “because it can be frustrating having a goal that gets disallowed. But we stuck with it.”

Special teams play: The Rangers and Capitals went 0-for-2 on the power play in Game 5. The Caps are now 1-for-8 on the man-advantage in the series and 3-for-21 in the playoffs. The Rangers are 1-for-11 in the series and 4-for-31 in the playoffs.

Slowing Ovechkin: New York defensemen Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh did an excellent job on Alex Ovechkin, holding him to just two shots on goal. Ovechkin had six more attempts blocked and one miss the net in Game 5. He has not scored since his incredible individual effort resulted in a goal in Game 2.

Faceoffs more even: After the Caps dominated the faceoff circle in Game 4, the Rangers were much better in Game 5, winning 48 percent of the draws. Nicklas Backstrom won 11 of 22 faceoffs, while Jay Beagle won 10 of 18.

By the numbers: The Caps are now 3-10 in series-clinching games. They are also 3-8 in Game 5s when leading a series 3-1. Of the 10 times the Caps have held a 3-1 series lead, they are 6-4. But when they’ve led a series 3-1 and lose Game 5, they are 3-4..   

Look ahead: The Caps have scheduled a 12:30 p.m. practice at Kettler on Saturday. They have not practiced since an optional skate on Tuesday.

MORE CAPITALS: Glencross accepts responsibility for game-ending mistake

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3 reasons the Caps beat the Red Wings

3 reasons the Caps beat the Red Wings

Not much separated the Washington Capitals and the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday. A late 2-on-0 goal for Brett Connolly proved to be the difference.

Here's why the Caps ultimately walked away with the 1-0 win.

A first period goalie interference call

Andreas Athanasiou thought he had given the Red Wings a first period lead, but Barry Trotz challenged the call for goalie interference. The review showed that Tyler Bertuzzi clipped Philipp Grubauer in the head with an elbow right before the shot went in. Given how long it took the Caps to get going in this game, it is fair to say an early deficit would have been hard to overcome.


Killing off a full two-minute 5-on-3

Two man advantages are hard to kill. Killing off a full two-minutes at 5-on-3, that's a tall task. With the game still scoreless in the second period, T.J. Oshie and Lars Eller were both assessed penalties giving Detroit two-full minutes at 5-on-3. The Red Wings managed four shots on goal, but Washington was able to successfully kill off the penalty and keep the game scoreless.

Philipp Grubauer

There were few players who had strong efforts on Tuesday, but Grubauer was phenomenal. Even when the game felt sleepy in the first two periods, Detroit still managed 28 shots on goal, all of which were turned aside by the German netminder. When Washington finally took the lead in the third, the Red Wings woke up and began pushing the offense, but Grubauer was in the zone at that point and could not be beaten. His best save came in the third period when he stared down a breakaway from Athanasiou and extended the pad to deny the shot.


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Tarik's 3 stars: Grubauer, Caps shut down the Red Wings

Tarik's 3 stars: Grubauer, Caps shut down the Red Wings

It wasn’t pretty but the Caps eventually got what they needed in Detroit: two points.  

After a sleepy first 40 minutes, Brett Connolly scored midway through the third period and then Philipp Grubauer made sure it stood up at Little Caesars Arena, where Washington eked out a 1-0 victory Thursday over the scuffling Red Wings.


Tarik’s three stars of the game:

1-Philipp Grubauer, Capitals

For much of the game, Grubi was left to fend for himself. Good thing for the Caps he was up to the task. The German netminder, who has been one of the NHL’s top goaltenders since Thanksgiving, turned aside 39 shots, including three stops on a pivotal 5-on-3 penalty kill in the second period.

2-Brett Connolly, Capitals

The Caps didn’t get many Grade-A opportunities vs. Jimmy Howard. But Connolly buried one of the few they got…on a 2-on-0, set up by Jakub Vrana in the third period.

Connolly’s goal was his 15th of the season in his 63rd game, equaling the career-high he set a year ago in 66 contests. Vrana, meantime, has three goals and five assists since getting scratched 12 games ago.

3-Lars Eller, Capitals

Eller didn’t record a point, but he was all over the puck in Motown. The veteran center finished with a game-high six shots on net. He also had a key backcheck against Darren Helm, on a shorthanded breakaway, in the first period.

Eller was good in the dot, too, winning eight of 12 faceoffs.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think in the comments.