How can refs blow two calls in a row that have sent momentum to the Washington Capitals?
It happened again in Game Three when a phantom call was made against Pittsburgh while the Penguins were on offense.
Pittsburgh had a 2-1 lead with about three minutes left in the third period. The Penguins were taking the puck up the ice, when an interference penalty was called.
There was not a single person on the Penguins who could have been called for interference!
This was a crucial part of the game when a bad call could dramatically change the outcome, and it did.
This was the second straight game when a call, or non-call, was made in the last part of the game that enabled the Washington Capitals to score a necessary goal.
The first instance of the refs blowing it occurred in Game Two.
Alex Ovechkin was allowed to skate in alone on Marc-Andre Fleury because of a clear tripping of a Pittsburgh defenseman.
Ovechkin scored the winning goal on the resulting shot.
I am not suggesting that there haven't been calls missed for the Caps, but none of them impacted a game as much as this one.
Alex Ovechkin and Co. should feel grateful that somehow they still get home ice advantage even though they are on the road.
I don't like to think that the NHL or any other major sports league fixes games, but the incident with Tim Donaghy in the NBA has planted seeds of doubt in my mind.
These two calls (or non-calls, as they were) were both made late in the game, and decisively swung the pendulum of momentum over to the Caps.
Hopefully the awful refs don't keep what has been billed by the NHL and ESPN as a great series from materializing.