WASHINGTON -- Alex Ovechkin
threw his arms up, but so did referee Brad Watson. As a result, Ovechkin's celebration didn't last long.
Just 24 seconds into the third period of Game 7 Wednesday night, Ovechkin scored what he and everyone else in the building save for Montreal goalie Jaroslav Halak
and defenseman Hal Gill
thought was a sure game-tying goal.
Instead, Watson immediately waved it off because he ruled that Mike Knuble
had made contact with Halak in his goal crease. According to Rule 78.5 in the Official NHL Rulebook an apparent goal shall be disallowed "when an attacking player has interfered with a goalkeeper in his goal crease."
Watson's call was not subject to video review, as per the rulebook.
Understandably, Knuble didn't agree with Watson's call.
"That's a violation that hasn't been called all year," Knuble said. "And, I felt all night I wasn't a crease presence as far as being in the blue paint. I was right on the edge where I should be and we talked about it, the referee and I. I haven't seen the replay yet. That's something weird. We haven't seen it all year and now it comes out in Game 7."
Ovechkin also said he hadn't yet seen a replay of the waved-off goal and didn't believe there was a reason to.
"He made the call and it's no goal, so why do I have to see it?" Ovechkin said. "It's the decision and it is what it is."
Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau
, who was livid on the bench after Watson made his call, said he watched it four times before heading into his postgame news conference -- and he didn't see any evidence that showed him Watson was right.
"It feels like you're whining if you say things negative, but that was a pretty tough one to take," Boudreau said. "If Knuble's right foot touched his pad it was, I don't know, it looked like it didn't and if it did it was so light I don't know how they could make the call. And I thought the puck was in the net before that anyway.
"I don't know if I'm right or wrong in the rule, but it's no goal, no penalty if you impede the goalie from being able to make a play," he continued. "(Halak) did exactly what he wanted to do with it. He stretched out, went for the save and missed it so I don't see how it couldn't have been a goal."
Halak said he wasn't sure if the goal would be called back, but Gill made a quick motion toward Watson after it was scored.
"He was in the crease," Halak said. "The ref made the call. That was all."
Boudreau thinks the call could have been made because Montreal had complained earlier in the series about the Capitals making contact with the goalie.
"Again, it seems like I'm crying, but I do know that they talked about us being in front of the net all the time to the supervisor," Boudreau said. "I don't know if that had anything to do with it."
The disallowed goal was a huge turning point in the game. Instead of being tied 1-1 with 19:36 still left in regulation, the Capitals were still down 1-0. Dominic Moore
made it hurt even more exactly 16 minutes later when he scored to make it 2-0 Habs.
halved the Canadiens lead 80 seconds after Moore scored, but the Capitals could never get even.
"Nothing to say," Ovechkin said. "It's done."
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl