Was it a goal? Was it not a goal? Who knows?
Apparently, the National Hockey League’s War Room in Toronto.
Ruslan Fedotenko seemed to have scored a goal with 0.1 seconds remaining in the second period of the Rangers’ 3-2 win over the Capitals in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series yesterday afternoon at the Garden.
After a lengthy delay, however, the War Room ruled that the puck crossed the red line after time had expired. NBC’s replay, though, appeared to show the puck crossing the goal line with time on the clock. Instead of the Rangers going into the second intermission with a 2-1 lead, the game was tied 1-1 and the decision was met with a great
deal of disbelief and derision from the 18,200, mostly Rangers fans, in the building.
“I thought it for sure crossed the line in time just because the puck went through and I heard the buzzer. I was 99.9 percent sure it was a goal. So I was pretty shocked when they disallowed it,” Fedotenko said.
The league’s Situation Room posted the following statement on NHL.com: “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.”
Fedotenko noted that the referees, Tim Peel and Frederick L’Ecuyer, who replaced Chris Rooney midway through the second period, did not explain the ruling to him. Rooney suffered a broken ankle after tripping over the Capitals’ goal. The game was stopped for nine minutes while L’Ecuyer dressed and Rooney was tended to on the ice by medical personnel.
“Whatever they said on the microphone,” Fedotenko said. “They said time expired. So there’s not much explanation there.”
Ironically, that the goal was waved off at the end of the period may have benefited the Rangers, as they were able to go to their dressing room and refocus on the task at hand.
“Things like that happen,” Brian Boyle said. “When we’re up 2-1 (with) five minutes (left in the third) and give up a goal. They tied it. We’re a pretty resilient group. That was tougher to come back from the no-goal.
“We came in here, settled down and we got ramped up again for the next period. When you get a lead, you’re excited but you can’t get too excited. You have to keep playing. You can’t get too down.”
Game 3 Notebook
-- They are not the 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers, not by a long shot.
But the Rangers power play contributed a goal in yesterday’s 3-2 win at the Garden.
The unit, which entered the game 1-for-33 with the man advantage dating back to the end of the regular season and went scoreless in the first two games this series, finally cashed in on Erik Christensen’s 5-on-4, game opening goal 5:30 into the second period. Christensen, who stood between the goal line and the right faceoff circle, ripped a bullet over Michael Neuvirth’s shoulder. Christensen’s goal was the lone strike in seven power plays.
“I looked over and had some time to shoot it; for (whatever) reason saw that I had a little bit of space and (whipped) it towards the net,” Christensen said. “It worked out pretty well.”
For the first time in the series, the Rangers’ power play units appeared more confident in their decision making and puck movement in the final 40 minutes.
“We got into the zone better in the second period. We gained entry a lot easier and once (in) we were moving it around,” Christensen analyzed. “It’s so critical in the playoffs, your special teams, to be firing. I think we were slumping there for awhile going back to the regular season.”
-- The Brandon Prust-Brian Boyle-Sean Avery line was the Rangers’ best yesterday. The trio was able to play the grinding, forechecking and cycling game that has been the trademark of the 2010-11 Rangers.
The fourth line combined for 10 hits and was credited with 11 shots on goal—nine off of Boyle’s stick—in 41:20 of ice time.
“It’s what we need to do,” Boyle said. “Putting pucks in the right areas so we can go back and get it, being physical; pretty sure they know we’re coming. We’re going to come hard, just like they are coming hard. We just have to be relentless. We have to have second, third efforts to keep the puck. That’s when you’re going to get chances.”
-- Due to the one goal the Rangers scored in the first two games and his assessment that Derek Stepan and Artem Anisimov were “fighting it a little bit,” John Tortorella moved Brandon Dubinsky to center. Dubinsky finished with two points, was plus-two, won 12 of 26 faceoffs, threw seven hits and was good in all three zones.
Still, Tortorella was firm in his resolved that Dubinsky “is a left winger. I needed to use him in the middle and he had done a good job.”
-- The game was delayed for nine minutes in the second period when referee Chris Rooney injured his knee. It appeared as if Rooney tripped on the goal before falling to the ice. He was tended to by medical personnel. Rooney was replaced by Frederick L’Ecuyer.
-- With Game 4 not taking place until Wednesday night, the Capitals left for Washington after the game. They have Monday off and will practice at their training facility in Virginia Tuesday.