There were two plays last night in Philadelphia that, if they went the other way, could have led to a Rangers victory instead of their sixth defeat in eight games to start the season.
The first was a borderline boarding penalty by Beniot Pouliot on Max Talbot…
Pouliot received a five-minute major (which the Rangers killed off) as well as a game misconduct. He will now await word from the league on a possible suspension.
Pouliot didn't speak to the media after the game per the Rangers instructions.
Talbot on Pouliot hit: "I can’t really skate that well, so I may have stumbled on my feet. I didn’t feel like I got pushed or anything."
— Sarah Baicker (@sbaickerCSN) October 25, 2013
…should it have been a penalty? Absolutely. But if you watch the replay closely, Pouliot looks like he might have gotten him from the side and then Talbot, as he mentions, seems to stumble a bit before hitting the wall. A game misconduct is usually assessed when there's an intent to injure, which I think we can all agree was not the case here. Probably should have been a two-minute minor.
…having said that, with the league's commitment to safety (LOL!) guys have to be real careful when they're defending a player from behind. The ref is just waiting to make that call. Especially in the wake of all the dangerous hits we've seen early this season.
…as far as a possible suspension, while I don't think there should be one, especially after Talbot comment, I've stopped trying to figure out how Shanahan might rule on these things.
The second incident was the disallowed goal on JT Miller…
Here's Miller on the call (via Bergen Record)…
“I didn’t think I kicked it, obviously it just caught me off guard by the way it went in. On the replay you can see I was swinging my stick and just tried to bang in a rebound. They saw something with my leg coming through but I actually thought that was a good goal.”
Flyers goalie Steve Mason responded with this…
“It was just a kicking motion. I knew it right away. Right call.”
…without a doubt it was a kicking motion. However, I'm not 100% sure that Miller was actually kicking his leg on purpose. Looked more like the follow through of his stride. Either way it was a tough call for the booth in Toronto and actually because the call was a goal on the ice, they probably shouldn't have changed it.
…while the Rangers didn't get the benefit of the doubt on either call, I refuse to blame the refs for the loss last night, because when you rely on calls going your way to win, you probably don't deserve to.