The Washington Capitals took Game 1 of their series against the New York Rangers thanks to a clutch goal by Joel Ward with less than two seconds left on the clock. However, just before that goal Nicklas Backstrom delivered a questionable hit to Rangers defenseman Dan Boyle.
Backstrom wasn’t penalized for his actions and Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist thinks there was a direct correlation between Backstrom’s actions and the way the contest ended.
“Obviously the last few seconds there, I feel like we all just kind of stopped when Boyle went down,” Lundqvist told the Bergen Record. “We lost our focus a little bit and gave up the last chance.”
Marc Staal, who qualified his comments by saying that he was going off of what was described to him as he didn’t see the incident in question, thought what Backstrom did “seems cheap.” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault, who seemed angry after the hit and subsequent goal, refused to comment on the referees after the game. For his part though, Backstrom defended his actions.
“I didn’t see the puck but I knew there was five seconds left and everything can happen,” Backstrom told CSN Washington. “I mean, it’s something we’ve been taught from when we were kids, to play until the whistle and that’s what we did.
“To be honest with you, I haven’t seen [the hit], so I can’t really say anything about it. But it looked like he was standing by the wall there. Hits like that happen every game, so …”
You can see what happened for yourself below (the hit occurs with about 5.5 seconds left on the clock):