The Columbus Blue Jackets won their fourth straight game Sunday, but not it was not without controversy. Captain Nick Foligno drew a high-sticking penalty from Nicklas Backstrom with 1:34 left in the game. Alexander Wennberg would score the tie-breaking and game-winning goal on the resulting power play with under a minute remaining.
That result would have been easier to stomach for the Capitals if Backstrom’s penalty was a penalty. It wasn’t. Backstrom’s stick never touched Foligno.
As Orlov and Backstrom initiate a switch on a forechecking Foligno, the Swedish center attempts a lift check and misses. Backstrom’s stick goes dangerously high into the air and misses Foligno. When Backstrom’s stick is back on the ice, Foligno whips his head backwards as if he had been struck. Power play, Blue Jackets.
Wennberg struck with 54 seconds remaining.
Backstrom was furious as he left the penalty box and after the game.
“No, I didn’t touch him and I asked the guy, too,” Backstrom said to reporters. “[Foligno] said I didn’t touch him. Really weird I got a penalty there.”
Barry Trotz hoped the league looks at the tape and fines Foligno. He called the play “disrespectful to the game.”
“I hope the league looks at that,” Trotz said. “If you look at it, he doesn’t really touch him. And his head pops up as Backy’s stick is already on the way down.”
“That’s just a little disrespectful to the game,” Trotz continued. “The league will look at that and we have fines for that. I’m sure that’s something they took advantage of. I wouldn’t be too happy if I were that referee.”
Last season, 13 NHL players last year were fined between $2,000 and $3,000 for diving or embellishment. I’m sure Foligno, who is in the second season of a six-year, $33 million contract, will be happy to trade that tiny fine for a W.
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