Tonight’s game between the Kings and Senators in Ottawa featured a pair of dubious goal reviews. One came in the first period when Wayne Simmonds opportunity where he jammed the puck home into an empty net was waived off because Sens defenseman Matt Carkner slid into the post and very well may have helped pull the net off its moorings on purpose. The puck didn’t cross the line before the net came off and the goal was disallowed and confirmed on review.
The bigger story came in the third period with the Kings trailing 3-2 and Jack Johnson’s shot from the point was tipped into the net by Ryan Smyth with three seconds left for the apparent game-tying goal. Referee Eric Furlatt immediately waived the goal off saying Smyth tipped it in with a high stick. Once again the play would go to review and after a lengthy replay, Furlatt’s decision was confirmed. The Kings lost the game and discussion turned to whether or not the right call was made. Submitted for your approval (or not), a single snapshot and a moment in time right after Smyth tipped Johnson’s shot.
The cliché says that “a picture is worth a thousand words” and in the case of Ryan Smyth he’s hoping that those words would be “goal.” You can’t always take a picture for what it’s worth because it’s capturing one quick moment in time and not the full sequence of events, but I’m going to just say that I wish Getty Images photographer Phillip MacCallum would’ve had a video camera instead of a regular one so we could see how this played out. According to Rich Hammond of L.A. Kings Insider, the NHL would’ve liked that too.
Mike Murphy, the NHL’s senior vice president of hockey operations, told Jim Fox that video-replays officials had “no view available that would allow them to change the call on the ice,” which is why the no-goal, called on the ice with three seconds left, held up.
That’s unfortunate that with all the cameras available in the arena with two different media crews working the game that there wasn’t a shot from the ice level to give the proper perspective. As for Smyth, his thoughts on things had a hearty dose of veteran savvy.
“Well, when I tipped it I brought my stick back down, so I think it was pretty close. I thought it was a good goal. … It would have been great. Three seconds left. It would have been a nice turning point, for sure.”
It certainly would have. Instead, the Kings will have to bounce back in Montreal on Wednesday and hope that they get a little bit better luck.
If Marc-Andre Fleury suiting up bothers Matt Murray, then the rookie goalie channeled those feelings into a masterful performance on Monday.
The Washington Capitals absolutely dominated Game 3, but Murray was even better, stopping 47 shots as the Penguins stole one 3-2 to take a 2-1 series lead.
(Capitals fans might see some parallels to Washington’s Game 5 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers; they fell 2-0 despite a 44-11 shots on goal edge thanks to Michal Neuvirth‘s heroics.)
Murray stopped chance after chance before Alex Ovechkin finally broke through for his first goal of this series. Justin Williams then brought the Penguins’ lead down to 3-2 to make for a hold-your-breath final minute.
A driven Ovechkin and strong overall play from the Capitals (despite this defeat) aren’t the only reasons why Game 4 might present some twists.
First things first: Kris Letang might get suspended for Game 4 (if not for more than one game) thanks to this controversial check on Marcus Johansson.
Beyond that, there could be some bumps and bruises from this contest.
Bryan Rust left during the first period and didn’t return to the game after blocking a shot. Brian Dumoulin seemed shaken up after an Alex Ovechkin hit in the third period. The Capitals might have a player or two to look at, as well.
In other words, the Penguins could really lack for quality defensemen with Letang possibly suspended and possible injury absences for Dumoulin and Olli Maatta.
This series is living up to the hype … and really building up the hate.
It remains to be seen if Kris Letang will get suspended for his hit on Marcus Johansson … and if he does, for how long.
(You can read initial reactions and some analysis about the specifics of the check vs. the one that got Brooks Orpik suspended here.)
There are a few things we do know already.
For one thing, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly looking into it.
Another factor that could help Letang avoid a suspension or limit the duration of supplemental discipline: Marcus Johansson returned during the second period.
In fact, Johansson delivered some hits on Letang.
There have been some nasty moments in Game 3, and more might be coming. The Penguins lead 2-0 with a few minutes remaining in the middle frame.
Update: Reports indicate that the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is indeed looking into the hit.
As thrilling as this Pittsburgh Penguins – Washington Capitals series has been, it seems like every game presents another controversial hit.
Game 3’s most noteworthy entry (so far?) came when Kris Letang was whistled for interference on Marcus Johansson.
Penguins fans griped that Brooks Orpik didn’t get a major penalty for his hit on Olli Maatta … now Capitals fans likely feel the same about the check Letang delivered.
Watch it in the video above. Also, Stefanie “My Regular Face” has it in GIF form:
Things could get ugly in Game 3:
One factor in a suspension happening – or at least the duration of the suspension – would be what the point of contact was:
Also, lateness of the check:
The Penguins ended the first period up 2-0 against the Capitals, even though Washington played one of its best 20 minutes of the series. Expect more drama.
The Brooks Orpik hit on Olli Maatta isn’t the only factor in lineup changes for Game 3 between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins.
Maybe the most interesting change starts on the Penguins’ bench … where they likely hope that tweak will stay for at least one night.
Marc-Andre Fleury is apparently healthy enough to suit up for the Penguins, although it appears as though Matt Murray will start:
That’s a clear sign that “The Flower” is healthy enough to play, as Murray would be an injury or a coach’s pull away from giving up the net to Fleury. (One would assume.)
Murray has been fantastic for the most part since taking over for Jeff Zatkoff during this postseason, yet you know how the playoffs can be; people may clamor for Fleury after a loss even if it’s not really Murray’s fault.
Circling back to that Orpik hit, the dominoes seem to fall this way:
Penguins: Derrick Pouliot replaces injured Maatta.
Capitals: Dmitry Orlov in for suspended Orpik.
PHT will make note if there are any swerves.