Joe Beninati Blog: Tough call

Joe Beninati Blog: Tough call
December 3, 2010, 5:57 am
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Friday, December 3, 2010 12:42 a.m.


By Joe Beninati
Capitals Play-by-Play

The story of this loss in Dallas greatly relates to the officials and their decisions. No one will absolve the Caps from blame for taking too many penalties in the second period. That was where this contest spun out of control.

On four separate occasions the Stars were blessed with power plays. Some were deserved, others not so much. The Caps put up a valiant effort to kill off the first three, which came in rapid fire succession. The fourth one was their undoing.

Like so many great playmakers, Brad Richards often shoots the puck with the intention of creating a rebound that acts like a pass. He sent a shot low to the stick side of Michal Neuvirth that the goalie booted right onto the blade of Mike Ribeiro, who wasted no time snapping the puck into the net to give Dallas the lead.

For most of the night Washington's offense was out of sorts and for a number of reasons. One concerned the quality of ice in Dallas which, judging by the amount of awkward falls and bouncing pucks, was not very good. Another reason was Andrew Raycroft, surprise starter in goal for Dallas. Head Coach Marc Crawford gave his workhorse, Kari Lehtonen, the night off and Raycroft was a very strong understudy.

The Caps finally put one past him with 9:42 left in the third period. Mike Green found Mike Knuble open in the slot on a power play and the veteran winger buried his chance.

Up until tonight the Caps had not lost a game in regulation in which they scored on the power play. That's no longer true. Brandon Segal scored 20 seconds after Knuble to rescue the lead back for Dallas. It was a goal that Neuvirth more than likely wishes he could have back, since the wrist shot did not have very much pace behind it.

The game ended in controversy. An apparent game-tying goal by John Carlson was washed out by referee Dan O'Rourke. If I understood it correctly, the official cited incidental contact with the goalie as the reason he overturned the goal.

Alex Ovechkin was tied up with Stephane Robidas in the crease, but replays showed Dallas defender Karlis Skrastins sliding into his own goalie, which to my eye prevented him from making the save. O'Rourke's decision was final and the Caps angrily fell short 2-1.