The final minute of Washington's loss to Montreal has drawn much debate over the past two days. People (mainly in the Washington camp) are upset that the Canadiens put their top power play unit on the ice in the final minute when they were up 3-0.
This is the National Hockey League, full of professional athletes that are being paid exorbitant amounts of money to play hard for a full 60 minutes. When the Buffalo Sabres were putting the hurt on the Atlanta Thrashers some two weeks ago, they didn't let up. After gaining a 7-1 lead through two periods in which they threw 16 shots on goal each period, they fired 17 more shots on goal in the third -- scoring three more times to win 10-1.
This is pro sports -- it happens. And it has to happen because these guys are so good that no comeback is impossible. Look back to March 23, 1952 when the Chicago Blackhawks' Bill Mosienko scored a hat trick in just 21 seconds. More recently, February 25, 1971 found the Boston Bruins scoring three times in only 20 seconds. Just three weeks ago, the Nashville Predators scored three goals in 1:15. Granted these players and teams did not do this while killing a penalty, but clearly it would not be an impossible feat.
The Capitals can feel that they were being disrespected all they want, but the Habs' decision could have very easily backfired on them. They live on their power play -- over 35% of their goals come from it. If one of their key components got injured, it could have changed their entire season.
I recall a game last year when Alex Ovechkin was on the ice in the last minute of game that the Caps had control of. A couple seconds after questioning aloud why he was out there, he was involved in a knee-on-knee collision that fourtunately was not as serious as it first appeared.
The point is, more common than three goals in the final minute are injuries, and the Canadiens were taking a chance whose risk far outweighed its reward.
So enough whining about it. The Capitals have had to wait only 45 hours to exact their revenge. Win and all is forgotten, until playoff time.
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