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NFL: Refs missed it; Denver TD was a touchback

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NFL: Refs missed it; Denver TD was a touchback

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) The NFL said the 76-yard punt return by Denver's Trindon Holliday against Carolina on Sunday should have been ruled a touchback, not a touchdown.

In the second quarter of Denver's 36-14 win, the Broncos' 5-foot-5 returner raced up the sidelines and appeared to score. Replays showed Holliday prematurely celebrating the TD by flipping the ball out of his hands before crossing the goal line.

Replay official Bob Boylston confirmed the touchdown and, as a result, referee Alberto Riveron did not stop the game for an instant replay review.

The NFL said Monday in a statement ``Because the video showed that Holliday lost possession of the ball before it broke the plane of the goal line, Boylston should have stopped the game to initiate an instant replay review. Had that occurred, Riveron would have had the indisputable visual evidence necessary to overturn the on-field ruling. The result of the play should have been a touchback - not a touchdown - with Carolina gaining possession at the 20 yard-line.''

``I thought I was actually in end zone this week but I wasn't,'' Holliday said Monday. ``Coach (John Fox) told me next time, just bring in the ball.''

Of course, all of that doesn't help the Panthers now.

Holliday's touchdown was a major turning point in the game and ushered in a Broncos scoring onslaught. At the time when he field the punt, the score was tied at 7, but the Broncos would go on to score 29 straight points to take charge and win going away in Fox's return to Carolina.

``He definitely flipped it before he got in,'' said Panthers special teamer Richie Brockel. ``But that's the way it went, unfortunately. The call didn't go in our favor, but it still counted for six points.''

The play might have also cost Carolina special teams coordinator Brian Murphy his job. One day after Holliday's return, Panthers coach Ron Rivera announced he had fired Murphy citing ``philosophical differences and productivity.''

Rivera said earlier Monday he planned to send the play to the league because he thought the play should have been ruled a touchback.

It is the second straight week the Panthers have been involved in a play where a touchdown should have been nullified.

The NFL said on Nov. 5 that a 30-yard touchdown run by Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams against the Washington Redskins should not have counted because of an inadvertent whistle. The Panthers should have instead been offered the ball at the 17-yard line at the point where line judge Thomas Symonette blew his whistle because he mistakenly thought Williams had stepped out of bounds, the league said.

Williams kept running and was awarded the first-half touchdown in the Panthers' 21-13 victory Sunday. Redskins linebacker Perry Riley said he stopped pursuing the play because he heard the whistle.

Referee Carl Cheffers said after the game that the officials decided the whistle wasn't blown until Williams reached the end zone and that it didn't affect the play's outcome, so the touchdown ruling stood. Replays show the whistle was blown earlier, but an inadvertent whistle is not reviewable by replay.

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Referees miss blatant boarding by Paquette on Orpik

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Referees miss blatant boarding by Paquette on Orpik

A rough hit to the back of Brooks Orpik left him down on the ice and slow to get up. Cedric Paquette skated back to his bench and waited for the trainer to attend to Orpik and (probably) for the referees to call his number and send him to the box.

The penalty, however, never came.

You always hear in hockey that if you can see a player's numbers, you should pull up on the hit.

What that refers to is the numbers on the back of a player's jersey. You are not allowed to hit a player directly in the back into the boards.

The official definition of boarding according to the NHL rule book is, "any player who checks or pushes a defenseless opponent in such a manner that causes the opponent to hit or impact the boards violently or dangerously." Hitting a player "in the numbers" is a defenseless position.

Apparently Cedric Paquette didn't know that and, unfortunately for the Capitals, neither did the referees.

Someone explain to me how this is not a boarding penalty:

Sometimes referees are put in a tough position because a player turns his back right before they take the hit, thus putting themselves in a vulnerable position to draw a penalty. That was not the case here. Orpik never turned.

When Tom Wilson hit Pittsburgh Penguins forward Zach Aston-Reese in the second period, the hockey world spent the next day debating whether it was an illegal hit. There is no debate here, no grey area. Just a clear board.

And no call.

You can understand referees wanting to put away the whistles for a Game 7, but you have to call the blatant dangerous plays like this. This was a bad miss by the referees, plain and simple.

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Capitals advance to Stanley Cup Final for first time in 20 years; will face inaugural Golden Knights

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Capitals advance to Stanley Cup Final for first time in 20 years; will face inaugural Golden Knights

The Capitals' magical run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs continues, moving on to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1998 after a 4-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 on Wednesday night to face George McPhee's expansion Vegas Golden Knights.

Game 1 of the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Final will take place on Memorial Day, Monday, 5/27 at 8:00 p.m. at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. The Golden Knights ended the regular-season with four points more than the Capitals, meaning the inaugural Vegas team will have home-ice advantage.

After taking a 2-0 series lead over the Lightning, Tampa won three straight to put the Capitals on the brink of elimination before back-to-back wins helped them advance past the Eastern Conference Final. 

This wasn't even supposed to happen in many people's eyes. The Capitals trailed the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-0 in the first round, before winning four straight to then face Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins for the third straight year. 

After winning that series in six games, eliminating the Penguins from the playoffs for just the second time ever, the Caps went into Tampa and shocked the Lightning with a 4-2 win in Game 1, following that up with a 6-2 win in Game 2

Now, the greatest expansion team in modern sports history is all that stands in the way of a Stanley Cup. Marc-Andre Fleury and the Golden Knights knocked off the Winnipeg Jets 2-1 on Sunday in Game 5 of the Western Conference final to advance. 

The Knights, whose historic inaugural 109-point season included a Pacific Division crown, sweeping the Los Angeles Kings in the first round, before knocking out the San Jose Sharks in six games.

The Jets had the NHL's second-best record with 114 points in the regular season. They advanced to the first conference final in the city's history with a five-game victory over the Minnesota Wild in the opening round before topping the Presidents' Trophy-winning Nashville Predators in Game 7 on the road.

Now, in the Stanley Cup Final, the Capitals will try and avoid being a part of the wrong side of history, while making their own history in the process.