By Chris Gordon
Photo: Patrick McDermott
The Capitals were up 4-0 against the Tampa Bay Lightning with just over nine minutes to play. The game looked well in hand. Then Dmitry Orlov attempted to flip a puck out of the defensive zone. Instead, it was battled down by Anton Stralman past the blueline. Stralman then reentered the zone. The play looked, at game speed, to be clearly offside. The Capitals benched roared at the linesmen. Nevertheless, play went on. A few seconds later, Tampa had a goal, the start of an impressive third period that could have cost the Capitals the game.
“I thought it was, but I mean I can’t see that,” Capitals goalie Braden Holtby said. “You usually have plays like that just blown down.”
The Caps clearly expected it would be. Jason Chimera, Andre Burakovsky, Jay Beagle, Trevis (?) Chorney, and Orlov all stopped for a second. In the meantime, the Bolts set up in the offensive zone and Brian Boyle one-timed a puck past Holtby.
“Plays like that we’ve just got to keep playing,” Holtby said. “I think it got us a bit. We froze when we thought it was [offside] and we can’t do that. You’ve got to be mentally stronger through that and keep playing.”
On close inspection, the play was onside.
“The player’s hand was inside the blue,” head coach Barry Trotz admitted.
Nevertheless, the coach echoed Holtby’s admonishment.
“There is a little lesson,” Trotz. “Play the play out and see what happens.”
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