Erat lies on the ice after colliding with Ovechkin and Stepan. (Photo credit: Bruce Bennett)
The Washington Capitals power play was very good this season; they scored a lot of goals on it. In the first period of game 4 on Thursday Night, though, it was very bad — so bad that the Rangers had more shorthanded chances than the Caps had shots on goal. One of those opportunities for New York was rather disastrous for Washington.
With about a minute and a half left in the first period, the Caps’ second power play unit took the puck up ice. Martin Erat attempted to dump the puck in, but it rattled around the endboards before falling into the lap of Derek Stepan. Racing up the ice, Stepan found himself on a partial breakaway, with Erat pressing him from behind. Alex Ovechkin made himself known as well, flying in to break up the play. Ovi clipped Stepan, getting tangled in the Ranger’s stick as he went. With Erat glued to Stephan, the three skaters violently tumbled to ice. Erat landed on his hand before sliding into Washington’s net. He stayed there, in too much pain to move.
Then the refs decided they’d make things worse for the Caps: Erat was given a soft hooking minor and Ovechkin, inexplicably, was assessed a penalty for charging. Ovi didn’t leave his feet or even really deliver a check. He just ran into the dude carrying the puck and happened to get him caught in his stick. Running into the guy with the puck is usually encouraged in the NHL.
Pierre McGuire, who is an idiot, called Ovechkin out for a headshot. But, since you are not an idiot, you can see that the point of contact was in fact Stephan’s left forearm.
Erat did not return.
Ouch. (Photo credit: Chris Gardner)