Vegas Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves is a bottom-line player, but he now has goals in two straight games. And they’ve been huge.
During Game Five against the Winnipeg Jets, Reaves scored the unlikely game-winning tally to send the Golden Knights to the Stanley Cup Final. Monday night, Reaves scored in the third period against the Capitals to tie Game One 4-4.
Except there’s no way this should have counted as a goal.
The play started when Tomas Nosek tried to send a backhand centering pass towards the crease. The puck banged off the side of the net, but as it landed, Nosek poked it free past Michal Kempny.
Reaves, set up in the crease, cross-checked John Carlson to the ice and then roofed the puck to the top of the net.
Here’s another look just so your blood can really boil.
Carlson was pissed on the bench rightly so.
After the game, Capitals head coach Barry Trotz had this to say.
“I didn’t like the fourth goal,” Trotz said. “I thought we should have been going on the power play there.”
NBC Sports analyst Ed Olczyk agreed.
“Ryan Reaves cross-checks Carlson to get some separation,” Olczyk said. “To me, if the official sees it, it should have been a penalty. And then there would have been no goal. But it went undetected. It’s almost like going up in basketball for a rebound and pushing the guy under the hoop to be able to get that rebound.”
Mike Milbury was legitimately upset.
“It’s just unforgivable,” Milbury said. “You got two officials. One that can see right there. Make the call! You have to make the call. It’s a turning point of the game. This is just not right.”
In the playoffs, NHL referees usually swallow their whistle and never call anything so that both teams can settle it on the ice. That philosophy is smart in theory, but when a play this egregious goes uncalled, it impacts the competitive balance of the game.
Tomas Nosek would score the game-winning goal 7:03 later and VGK held on to win Game One 6-4.
For the record, this is how the NHL described Reaves’ goal in its metadata.
“Cup Final, Gm1: Ryan Reaves snags a bouncing puck and roofs it over Braden Holtby, tying the game at 4 early in the 3rd period.”
They didn’t mention the cross check.
On YouTube, the NHL didn’t post the controversial play, but they did post this.
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