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Maxim Afinogenov's No Goal Against Caps Still Baffling

Adam HuczelContributor IApril 6, 2009

NEW YORK - MARCH 21:  Maxim Afinogenov #61 of the Buffalo Sabres skates against the New York Rangers during the game on March 21, 2009 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Yes, the Sabres beat the Capitals in overtime this past Friday night. It was a game the Sabres "needed to win." But looking at the game in more detail is still leaving me baffled. And one play could have changed that, and helped the Sabres in a much bigger way.

In the third period Maxim Afinogenov had appeared to score a goal that would have tied the game at 4-4. The referee behind the net quickly signaled NO GOAL.  His reason was that Afinogenov had interfered with Capitals goaltender Simeon Varlamov.

If that was the case, wouldn't there be a penalty on Afinogenov? NOPE! Afinogenov skated to the bench and play resumed.

This proved to be an important moment as the Sabres had the game go into overtime. It may have also proved to be costly the following night as Buffalo came out sluggish in the first period against the New Jersey Devils.

What is hard to believe is that in the Capitals game, none of the referees reviewed the goal from Toronto. If the league instates a replay rule, why don't they use it in "just in case" situations.

While not related in any way, Arizona Cardinals fans are saying the same thing after the final play of the Super Bowl. Whether the Warner pass was a fumble or an incomplete pass, the referees didn't review it.

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The Sabres now find themselves four points behind the Florida Panthers and New York Rangers for the last playoff spot. It doesn't get any easier either. The Sabres play the defending NHL Champion Detroit Red Wings tonight and if it comes down to the last game of the season, the Sabres play the Boston Bruins who have clinched the top spot in the eastern conference.

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