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Penalty is costly for Caps
The delay of game penalty for sending the puck over the glass in the defensive zone is a controversial infraction in the NHL. Last night was an example of why.
Patrice Bergeron sent the game to overtime with a delay of game-induced power-play goal, and Phil Kessel notched the game-winner in the shootout as the Boston Bruins bested the Washington Capitals 3-2 in front of an announced crowd of 15,273 at Verizon Center.
“As far as the penalty goes, a penalty is a penalty. I haven’t really given it much thought if it is a good rule or not,” Caps coach Glen Hanlon said about the call against Alex Ovechkin. “It is a rule, and … I don’t recall off the top of my head that we’ve maybe won a game late on the very same play. … Something is telling me where someone took that penalty and we won, so it is funny how they all even out.”
Ovechkin attempted to clear the puck out of the Caps’ zone near the blue line, but it went into the seats, and he went into the penalty box with the Caps ahead 2-1 with 7:44 remaining in the third period.
Fifty-nine seconds later, Boston center Marc Savard faked a slap shot from the right side and snapped a cross-ice pass to Bergeron, who netted his 17th goal of the season to knot the score at 2-2.
Ovechkin, who was held without a point for the third consecutive game and took a slap shot from Boston’s Zdeno Chara off his helmet, was not happy with his play.
“He’s a good defenseman, and I just don’t have chance to shot,” Ovechkin said. “Today was my terrible game in my whole career here. It was my fault when it was 2-1 and I have penalty, so it was my fault we lose game.”
Alexander Semin led off the shootout for the Caps and scored with the same move he used against the Islanders on Sunday, beating Boston goalie Tim Thomas with a backhand flip. Thomas stopped Ovechkin and Eric Fehr in his first NHL shootout attempt, and both Bergeron and Kessel beat Washington goaltender Olie Kolzig to give Boston the extra point.
The Caps had scored only one goal in a span of 173 minutes dating back to the game against Florida on Thursday before scoring twice in the third period.
Washington trailed 1-0 when Brooks Laich tied the score 21 seconds into the period with his sixth goal of the season. The puck took an awkward bounce off the boards and then caromed off Bruins right wing Shean Donovan. It came right to Laich just outside the right faceoff circle, and he slammed a slap shot over Thomas’ glove.
Fehr scored his second career goal 7:48 into the final period to put the Caps ahead. Washington was at the end of a power play, and defenseman Mike Green dove to keep the puck in the zone. Right wing Richard Zednik collected the puck and skated toward the net and ripped a delayed slap shot at Thomas (32 saves), and Fehr was there to bang home the rebound.
Bochenski, whom Boston acquired in a trade with Chicago on Saturday, scored in his first game in a Bruins uniform. He moved toward the puck after it squirted free from a faceoff on the right side and smacked it past Kolzig (22 saves) in one motion for his third goal of the year.
It was another strong defensive effort for the Caps, who held the Bruins to just two shots in the first period and 10 through 40 minutes of play. Washington had killed off 12 straight penalties in three games since acquiring defenseman Milan Jurcina from the Bruins before Bergeron’s marker.
Part of the problem with the offense is the lack of production on the power play. While Fehr’s goal came five seconds after a penalty expired, the Caps went 0-for-3 with the man advantage. Washington is now 0-for-11 in its past three games and 2-for-25 since a win against Carolina on Jan. 27.
“We’re not doing some of the things that we practice in practice,” Caps captain Chris Clark said. “We have a system, and we should stick to it. There are some things we haven’t been doing. It’s kind of been more ad-libbing. That’s not something we want to be doing on our power play.”
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