NEW YORK | Madison Square Garden erupted as the second-period horn sounded. The puck was in the net behind Capitals goalie Michal Neuvirth and it looked like the Rangers had a 2-1 lead.
What followed was a video review that revealed no goal, as the clock had hit 0:00 before the puck fully crossed the line. The New York crowd went silent and the Caps knew they had a break.
“If it’s 1-1 going into the third on the road, I think we would all take that,” veteran right wing Mike Knuble said. “And that’s where we realty thrive – in those situations.”
But the Caps were unable to seize that momentum, ultimately giving up the game-winner with 1:39 left in the third period.
It was about as close as a puck can get between crossing the goal line with 0.1 seconds left and all zeros on the clock. It was sliding along the ice inside the right post, and NBC video appeared to show time left when 100 percent of the puck was over the red line.
But that’s not the official clock, as the NHL explained in its statement:
“Video review was used to determine if the puck crossed the line before time expired in the second period. The official burn-in clock on the overhead camera had time expired before the puck crossed the line. No goal.”
This time of year one bounce can make a difference – and Ruslan Fedotenko’s shot that deflected off John Erskine looked to be that. Instead, there was a sense of relief in the visiting locker room at the second intermission.
“That was our lucky play for the game,” Caps forward Matt Bradley said. “We got to come into the third period tied and had a good chance to win the game with 20 minutes to go.”
Instead, Bradley said, he and his teammates got outworked. Knuble said it was simple – New York scored twice while his goal was Washington’s only in the final period.
The Rangers didn’t let the no goal demoralize them – and made it a series as a result.
“It was a little bit frustrating obviously,” Rangers defenseman Marc Staal said. “That would have been a big goal for us, but we were still in good shape. We came out and played a really good third period and stayed with it as best as we could.”