Midway through the third period, the Devils took their second too-many-men penalty of the period, handing the Capitals a 5-on-3 on which they would eventually score.What went unnoticed, that is until the Caps erased one of those penalties with their first goal of the night, was a second bench minor and a second 5-on-3. It was a moment that left most of us in press row thoroughly confused. “Wait — why are the Capitals still on a 5-on-3? Is that another penalty? When did that happen?”
Turns out, it was the coach’s fault.
“You know what, really, the guys bailed me out,” DeBoer said after the game. “We had two too many men on our bench minor. So, I think I’m leading the team in penalty minutes.”
DeBoer admitted he said something to the referees after the second too-many-men call, but wouldn’t say what that something was. Captain Bryce Salvador says he doesn’t know what his coach said either, but he wasn’t exactly a fan of the call.
“You know it’s one those calls where I think they coulda maybe let it go,” Salvador said in the locker room. “I don’t know if we deserved the extra two.”
Corey GriffinWhether he deserved the penalty is impossible to know without knowing what four-letter word he dropped on the ref. However, sloppy line changes have been one of the biggest problems early on in this post-lockout season. There’s been an abundance of them and a lot have resulted in excellent scoring chances for the other team. Luckily, the Devils escaped any damage on the second 5-on-3, although it probably didn’t help a team that has already dealt with seven penalties against them. Not helping DeBoer’s temper was likely some sketchy-at-times officiating (on both sides), but my guess is DeBoer was more frustrated with his team’s inconsistent and sometimes undisciplined play for the second straight game. DeBoer may have fallen on the metaphorical sword, but there’s no doubt he was frustrated with his team and after the game he seemed aware that certain things have to change. It’s part of a season that has yet to see the Devils play a complete game, yet still come away with three wins. At least DeBoer’s gotta be happy about that.