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Alex Ovechkin's odd shootout goal beats Alexandar Georgiev, Rangers

Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals argues

Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals argues with the referee as Alexandar Georgiev #40 of the New York Rangers let go of his goalie stick during the shoot-out at Madison Square Garden on March 3, 2019. Credit: Getty Images/Bruce Bennett

If you watch enough NHL games, you will see some funky things. But no one involved in Sunday’s Capitals-Rangers game could recall an ending like this one:

The winning goal came on a shot that didn’t come close to actually crossing the goal line . . . and wasn’t even a real shot.

Alex Ovechkin, who had been stuffed on six shots by goaltender Alexandar Georgiev — including one on a breakaway in overtime — got credit for the deciding goal in the Capitals’ 3-2 shootout victory at Madison Square Garden.

Officials ruled that Georgiev had thrown his stick at Ovechkin as he was about to get off a shot in what became the deciding shootout attempt. It initially was ruled no goal.

“I knew 100 percent it’s a goal, because it was an empty net, and he threw his stick,’’ Ovechkin said. “But I was surprised at the first reaction of the referees. It’s nice to have replay.’’

The shootout was tied at 2 on goals by defensemen Kevin Shattenkirk and Tony DeAngelo for the Rangers and by forwards T.J. Oshie and Nicklas Backstrom for the Capitals. After Washington’s Braden Holtby stopped Filip Chytil’s attempt, that allowed Ovechkin to shoot for the win.

Ovechkin, the league leader in goals with 45, drifted to the left, his backhand side, then cut to the forehand side. Georgiev tried to go with him and the stick came out of his hand and slid across the ice, preventing Ovechkin from getting the shot off.

When the officiating crew ruled no goal, Ovechkin looked at the referee and put his arms out, with his palms to the sky. Referees Pierre Lambert and Francis Charron and linesmen Devin Berg and Mark Schewchyk huddled before going to replay to make the decision. Lambert then went to center ice and said the goal had been awarded.

“The league reviews every goal, so it’s their decision to make it a goal, so just gotta live with it,’’ Rangers defenseman Marc Staal said.

“Leave it to Ovi to score a goal without scoring.’’

Rangers coach David Quinn said the decision was “probably the right call. I wasn’t surprised it was overturned.’’

Said Georgiev, “It’s tough to explain, but he faked the shot and I went down early, and as he was moving laterally, I kind of threw my leg and the stick at the same time. It’s a tough call.’’

Georgiev said he didn’t believe it should have been a goal.

“I feel like I had my pad on the ice at the moment he was about to shoot, so it’s not like the empty net was there,’’ he said.

The Capitals earned a four-game season sweep of the Rangers, who picked up a point in three of the games, two of which were overtime losses.

The ending was a blemish on what had been a brilliant performance by Georgiev. He made 37 saves, including two in overtime.

Georgiev has started three of the last five games, alternating with Henrik Lundqvist. It was the second straight start Georgiev has lost after regulation, following Wednesday’s 4-3 overtime loss to the league-leading Lightning at the Garden.

Ryan Strome gave the Rangers the lead 45 seconds into the game, but former Ranger Carl Hagelin tied it at 2:03 of the first period. Andre Burakovsky put the Capitals ahead 2-1 at 10:02 of the first, but Pavel Buchnevich banged in a pass from Chytil at 14:20 of the second period to tie it.

Georgiev saved all 20 shots he saw during the second period, plus eight more in the third, to help send the game to overtime.

“He really controlled the game really well,’’ Staal said. “His rebound placement [was good]. He was swallowing up pucks and calmed a lot of things down for us. He played outstanding.’’

New York Sports