- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The television cameras cut to an angry John Carlson on the bench. The Capitals defenseman was yelling after Vegas Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves got away with a cross-check in front of the net to score a game-tying goal. An F-bomb appeared to be thrown.

In the Capitals’ 6-4 Game 1 loss Monday, Reaves’ goal was a turning point — and a source of controversy.

Reaves, who shoved down Carlson to create room, evened the game at 4 in the third period, but NBC analyst Mike Milbury lit into the referees for not calling a penalty.

“It’s just unforgivable,” Milbury said on NBC’s postgame show. “You’ve got two officials, one you can see right there. Make the call. You have to make the call. It’s a turning point in the game. … This is just not right.”

Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen said Reaves’ check “definitely could have been called,” pointing out Andre Burakovsky took a similar penalty in the first period. Like Reaves, Burakovsky shoved down an opposing Golden Knights player when his back was turned.

“If you’re comparing apples to apples I think that one is even worse,” Niskanen said. “But we’re not going to blame that one on the officiating tonight. We need to play better. It’s the Final. Traditionally they don’t call very much so we’re going to have to battle through that stuff.”

Said coach Barry Trotz: “I did not like the fourth goal I thought we were going on the power play there.”

The Capitals weren’t the only team to take issue with a hard check as Vegas was upset over Tom Wilson’s blindside hit against center Jonathan Marchessault.

“I thought again the officiating was outstanding tonight,” Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said. “They did a real good job. That’s a tough call. When I saw it live, I didn’t see much of it but then when you see it in replay, how late he hits Marchessault, to me it should’ve been a major penalty.”

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