The Capitals were already on the penalty kill in the third period when Jay Beagle tried to chip the puck out of the defensive zone. Rather than clearing it, he sent the puck arcing over the glass, crowd and into the Washington bench.
Referees Kyle Rehman and Francois St. Laurent huddled with linesmen Jean Morin and John Grandt and eventually called a delay of game penalty because the puck didn’t go directly into the bench but crossed over the glass and the spectators first.
“I had my head down and the [New Jersey] D was pinching on me and I just tried to hack it by him off the glass. I didn’t see the puck go out of the rink and I didn’t know if it hit our bench or it went into the stands. I had no clue,” Beagle said. “One ref and one linesman said he had no clue. The other linesman said he was pretty sure. They were kind of arguing about that. I could hear them arguing by the faceoff circle.”
Coach Adam Oates received the same explanation, but didn’t agree with the call. It was the eighth time this season the Capitals had been whistled for sending the puck over the glass.
“They saw it that way,” Oates said. “I can’t say that I saw the puck go over the glass at that time, but one of the linesmen called it. He said he saw it.”
Mathieu Perreault, who scored the Capitals first goal of the game but doesn’t kill penalties, was sitting on the bench and didn’t think the puck crossed the glass either.
“It was like right on the corner of it, like it was so close,” Perreault said. “It’s tough call.”
If the call itself didn’t raise enough eyebrows, who served it did. The referees put rookie Tomas Kundratek in the box to serve the minor rather than Beagle, who was doing his best not to draw attention to himself.
Beagle is one of the Capitals primary penalty killers, so he didn’t want to have to head off but he didn’t know why the referees didn’t force him to serve the penalty.
“I don’t know. I think they were just so confused and I was trying to hide, obviously, because it was a faceoff on my side,” Beagle said. “I should have been the one in the box. I just tried to hide from them and they didn’t put me in….So I did a good job of hiding, I guess.”
Beagle ultimately stayed out to thwart the first portion of the Devils 5-on-3 advantage with Karl Alzner and John Carlson. That trio, along with Nicklas Backstrom who eventually replaced Beagle on the penalty kill, didn’t allow New Jersey to record a single shot on goal during its power play.
But that strong effort wouldn’t prevent more penalties from piling up and costing the Capitals in a 3-2 loss to New Jersey Thursday night.