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Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin took exception with the way the officials handled his team's seven-game playoff series with New York -- a series that ended Monday with the Rangers capturing Game 7.
"The refereeing ... you understand it yourself. How can there be no penalties at all (on one team) during the playoffs?" Ovechkin said in Russian (the interview was translated by Slava Malamud, a longtime writer who has covered Ovechkin). "I am not saying there was a phone call from (the league), but someone just wanted Game 7. For the ratings. You know, the lockout, escrow, the league needs to make profit.
"I don't know whether the refs were predisposed against us or the league," he said. "But to not give obvious penalties (against the Rangers), while for us any little thing was immediately penalized."
In Game 7, the Capitals had 14 penalty minutes to four for the Rangers. Both teams had two power-play opportunities but didn't score. For the series, Washington had 74 penalty minutes and the Rangers had 40 -- though in the last three games, Washington registered 36 penalty minutes compared to just 12 for the Rangers.
The penalty disparity didn't translate directly to goals, however, as Washington scored three power-play goals in the series and New York scored two.
In the playoffs, Ovechkin scored just one goal (in Game 1) and had one assist (in Game 2). He was blanked in the last five games despite having 18 shots on goal. Ovechkin led the NHL with 32 goals during the regular season.
Ovechkin and the Capitals are now 2-5 in seventh games since 2008. They have lost in the conference semifinals three times and the conference quarterfinals twice in the past five years -- four of those five losing in the seventh game.