The Capitals took an early lead in the third period in Game 1 on Monday, but it was short-lived as Ryan Reaves tied the score at 4 just 91 seconds later. That goal proved to be the turning point of the game as the Vegas Golden Knights would never trail again in a 6-4 win over the Caps.
There's just one problem: Reaves' critical, game-tying goal should never have counted.
Reaves positioned himself at the top of the crease and found a window with which to shoot as he roofed the puck past Braden Holtby. He found that window by blatantly cross-checking John Carlson to the ice just moments before he got the puck.
You can watch the play here:
That's a cross-check. And not only is it a cross-check, it happens in the middle of the play and absolutely should have been caught by one of the two on-ice officials.
Carlson was seen complaining to the refs after the play. Reaves was asked about it by Pierre McGuire after the game and said, “I saw it as a goal, I don’t care what [Carlson] thinks. I mean, puck’s in the back of the net, tie game.”
Barry Trotz obviously saw it differently.
“I didn’t like the fourth goal...” — #Caps Coach Barry Trotz said of Ryan Reaves’ third period tally. Reaves cross checked John Carlson to the ice just before scoring. #CapsKnights pic.twitter.com/xjMxWRp8JS— Tarik El-Bashir (@Tarik_ElBashir) May 29, 2018
NBCSN analyst Mike Milbury was particularly critical of the no-call as he said, "It's just unforgivable. You've got two officials ... you have to make the call. It's the turning point of the game."
🎙 "You have to make the call. It's the turning point of the game." pic.twitter.com/qVawAcBn5X— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) May 29, 2018
It is typical in the playoffs for the referees to "put away the whistles" and avoid making penalty calls so as not to influence the game. But you're still influencing the game by not calling an obvious, blatant penalty especially when that penalty leads to a goal.
We can all see the referees made a mistake now, but that will serve as no consolation for the Caps who now find themselves trailing 1-0 in the series in no small part because of the no-call on Reaves.
MORE CAPITALS PLAYOFF NEWS:
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- 3 Stars: Vegas' fourth line rolls
- Only in Vegas: Best Game 1 photos
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