BOSTON (CBS) — If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, then it would be Christmas every day, and the Bruins would still be alive in the NHL playoffs.

The “if” in the Bruins’ case relates to the Capitals’ game-winning goal in overtime of Game 7 of Wednesday night. The goal came on a shot that Tim Thomas never saw, because Caps forward Mike Knuble had skated directly into the goaltender as Joel Ward pounced on a rebound and buried it, ending the Bruins’ season and sending the Capitals to the second round.

Thomas didn’t complain much after the loss, but former NHL referee Kerry Fraser wrote on that the goal should have been disallowed.

“In Boston, reality struck when the series ended with a Game 7 overtime goal that was manufactured by Mike Knuble in another example of goalkeeper interference,” Fraser wrote. “Knuble continued on his path entering deep into the goal crease and made sufficient physical contact with the Bruins goalie to knock him off his set position and back toward the goal line.”

Fraser referred to Rule 69.1, which states, “The overriding rationale of this rule is that a goalkeeper should have the ability to move freely within his goal crease without being hindered by the actions of an attacking player. If an attacking player enters the goal crease and, by his actions, impairs the goalkeeper’s ability to defend his goal, and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed.”

Fraser’s conclusion was simple.

“It would defy logic to maintain that rule 69, as it is written, was not sufficiently violated for the referee to disallow this goal,” Fraser wrote.

Of course, the fact that the goal came in overtime of a Game 7, with the Capitals bench immediately emptying in celebration, makes disallowing the goal a nearly impossible call for any referee to make. Fraser said, though, that it was a call that should have been made.

“Decisions of this magnitude are never popular but sometimes they just have to be made,” he said.

Bruins coach Claude Julien and general manager Peter Chiarelli were asked Friday for their thoughts on the play and non-call.

“Specifically from the play, I thought it was iffy but I didn’t think it was the wrong call,” Chiarelli said.

“It happened so quickly and you have to look at the replays, but at the same time I really think it was an iffy call to make, whether it was deliberate or not,” Julien said. “Sometimes you have to live with those decisions, unfortunately.”

Watch the video and decide for yourself — should the refs have taken this goal away?


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