Game 7 - Capitals 2, Flyers/NHL Officiating 3 OT - PHI wins 4-3
Scoresheet - Wash Post - Wash Times - Philly.com
It wasn't suppose to end like this. The Referees weren't supposed to be a factor in a pivotal game seven. A obvious goaltender interference missed. And, in the end the better team lost. The Flyers were on the ropes, both in the third and in overtime. The officiating just needed to keep it fair. To bad it wasn't.
Patrick Thoresen shoved Shaone Morrisonn into Cris Huet and Sami Kapanen threw the puck into an empty net, giving the Flyers the 2-1 lead. But no goaltender interference was called. The NHL explained: "Thoresen legally body checked Morrisonn and no Philadelphia player made contact with Huet."
Um, Ok. Isn't that the definition of interference when a player checks another into the goaltender? In a series that had 5 goaltender interference calls, why all of a sudden stop calling them? What is going on here? Then are you saying that Viktor Kozlov's is now not considered goaltender interference? Enter expletives here, because the Koharski and Devorski totally fouled up this call.
Now the trip by Tom Poti was a penalty, but called by the wrong official. The trailing official, in this case Devorski, called the penalty. He was the trailing referee and was behind the play. It was Koharski's call as lead official who had just happen to be looking right at the play and didn't call the penalty.
Funny how none of the Flyers were called for much of the same infractions that had the Caps sitting in the box. But hey, that is why I don't wear the stripes. After the game and the handshake Scott Hartnell skated over and waved cheerfully at the officials or at the fans. I wasn't sure if he was thanking the referees or antagonizing the crowd, either way it was a pretty classless thing to do.
All of that aside, the Caps just couldn't score in the third and the beginning of overtime. It was one of the most entertaining periods as the Caps pressed. Clearly the Capitals were in command, they were moving the puck, the Flyers looked tired and were standing around. But all of that hard work did not yield a goal.
Nick Backstrom scored his 4th playoff goal and Alex Ovechkin was able to tie the game on a wicked slapshot that Marty Biron never saw. Eric Fehr played one of the best hockey games I have seen him play in the NHL. He had a few opportunities to score. Boyd Gordon had a great series, so did John Erskine, Donald Brashear, Dave Steckel and of course Alex Semin.
Credit Marty Biron, he had to be good for the Flyers to even have a chance. And he kept them in it until the end. For a good part of the game the Philly squad were on their heels. Better to be lucky than good, I guess. They had turned over so many pucks in the third period off of an aggressive Capital forecheck, they could have opened a bakery (and sell turnovers). They should consider themselves very, very, very lucky they wrangled that rebound in overtime.
It's not the way this season should have ended for the Washington Capitals. But we, Caps fans, have nothing to be sad about. Alex Ovechkin lead the league in goals and points and will be the NHL's MVP. The Caps came from last place to finish first in the Southeast. When the series was down to 3-1, the Caps came roaring back. It should have been a story book ending, and in many ways it was. It could be argued that they had no business being in the playoffs or in game seven of the series. But they were there, and boy, they were spectacular.
Don't worry Caps fans, the sun will come up tomorrow. This summer will be quick. And I can't wait to see the encore of a season next year. Now they do have the experience. Now they will have some hunger to do more. Just like Ovie said, "It's not over."