As the series returns to Washington tied 2-2, the Capitals will have more concerns than just a blown series lead. T.J. Oshie left Game 4 late after a dangerous hit to the back from Carolina forward Warren Foegele sent him dangerously into the boards.

As Oshie entered into the offensive zone with the puck, Foegele came in on the backcheck. Oshie had a good position on the puck, blocking Foegele out with his back. Foegele responded with a cross-check to the back of Oshie that knocked him over face-first awkwardly into the boards. Oshie appeared to strike the boards with his right shoulder and was doubled over in obvious pain as he slowly made his way off the ice.

Alex Ovechkin was incensed after the play. He yelled at Foegele afterward and even followed him to the penalty box and continued to yell at him from outside the box.

Foegele was issued a two-minute minor for boarding.

The rules regarding boarding allow the referees a large degree of discretion when determining if a penalty is a minor or a major. Both penalties can be assessed at the referee’s discretion “based on the degree of violence of the impact with the boards.”

A reasonable argument could be made for either a minor or a major penalty in that situation. On the one hand, Foegele was back-checking and Oshie certainly knew he was there. The hit may have been illegal, but he was blocking out Foegele and not unsuspecting. On the other, the check sent Oshie to the boards with a tremendous degree of violence which is the only specific standard given for a major.


A major penalty in a one-goal game with just over five minutes remaining could have been a game-changer. Regardless, Washington had a power play with a chance to tie the game and failed. Now they will have to cross their fingers that when they take the ice on Saturday for Game 5, Oshie will be in the lineup and not out with an injury.