Coach Bruce Boudreau chose his words carefully after the Capitals suffered their 10th shutout of the season in a 2-0 loss to the Senators on Friday night at Scotiabank Place that featured a few puzzling calls by the officials.
The call that shifted the balance the most came with 13 minutes 25 seconds gone in the second period when Ottawa scored (watch video below) to take a 1-0 lead and end more than 33 minutes of scoreless play. Colin Greening was credited with the tally, having knocked the puck in from his spot in the crease. The play was reviewed but the goal stood. Goaltender interference is not reviewable under the NHL’s current rules.
“I mean, hey, refs have a bad night too sometimes. It’s a tough game,” Boudreau said. “On the goal, I wanted to know whether [Semyon Varlamov] was interfered with, and I think the question in Toronto [where plays are reviewed at NHL headquarters] was whether he kicked it in. The back ref had said the puck went in the net before he was interfered with.”
In the first period there was another questionable incident, when Senators defenseman David Hale’s stick scraped along the right side of Matt Hendricks’s head, cutting him near the corner of his eye.
Hale was taken to the penalty box by one official and assigned a four-minute double minor for high sticking. The three other referees overruled, saying the cut was because of a skate.
“The first high-sticking one,” Boudreau said. “They were told that three other guys thought it was a skate, so it wasn’t a high-stick.”
Hendricks was asked about his view of the contact. “My view was an Easton Synergy in my face.”
In the third period, Matt Bradley shoulder-checked Patrick Wiercioch and the Senators’ defenseman was slow to get up after the play. Ottawa’s Zack Smith took exception and challenged Bradley to a fight. Smith was assigned five minutes for fighting, a two-minute instigator penalty and the automatic 10-minute misconduct that comes with the instigator. Bradley received five minutes for fighting and two for boarding.
“That wasn’t a board, it was a clean hit almost inside the circle, but what are you going to do,” Boudreau said before he removed blame for the Capitals’ loss from the officials. “I’m sure we got away with a couple hookings as well, or a couple penalties. So I don’t think that was the definitive reason we lost.”
--Boudreau said he thought Varlamov did “quite well for his first game in a month.” Varlamov made 21 saves in his first game since Feb. 20 and first since he missed 11 with a knee injury. After the loss to the Senators, Boudreau said he didn’t know if Michal Neuvirth, who became ill on Friday, would be well enough to be available on Saturday in Montreal.