The Capitals were upset with a lot of calls on Sunday in a 1-0 loss to the New York Rangers. Maybe a better way to say it – they were upset about non-calls. New York, the most disciplined team in the NHL this season, wasn’t whistled for a single penalty. Washington took five – two of them obvious, and dumb, retaliation penalties.

Defenseman Mike Green lost his cool late in the third period when he cross-checked Derek Dorsett in the face after what he felt was a slew foot – that nefarious penalty where a player uses his legs or feet to knock an opponents’ legs or feet out from under him. A lot of times an arm or shoulder is used as leverage to push a player over backwards.

It’s among the game’s dirtier plays. It also appears – after about a dozen re-watchings – that Dorsett was really guilty of an attempted slew foot. But he didn’t succeed. Green stays on his feet, Dorsett is the one who eats the boards and then gets cross-checked in the mouth. It was a terrible undisciplined reaction by Green and it put Washington down a man in a game it trailed late 1-0. The Caps had a right to be upset. But if you try and two-hand someone and miss it’s not a penalty. No different here – though goalie Braden Holtby explains why his teammate didn’t go down.

“The one that we all had a problem with, obviously, was the one on Greenie. I think that’s a play that should be reviewed,” Holtby said. “It’s only because Greenie’s world-class, one of the best skaters in the world, that he didn’t fall on his back there. It’s a dirty slew foot and we’re short-handed from it. That’s the only one I think any of us have a problem with.”

Of course, Green let his emotions get away from him when he retaliated. Same for defenseman Jack Hillen earlier in the game when he caught a sneaky elbow from Rangers captain Ryan Callahan and got hit with a cross-checking penalty of his own. That can’t happen. Brian Boyle’s retaliation penalty in Game 5 on Friday cost the Rangers, who were on a rush up ice at the time and gave up a goal on the ensuing power play.

“I’m not going to comment on what I thought, but it’s a time in a point in the hockey game where we can’t afford to be in the box,” Caps forward Matt Hendricks said.  

That’s a big part of Dorsett’s game. It worked on Sunday. The Caps can’t afford to let him get to them again.

“In the post-season, they’re letting us play a little bit too,” Dorsett said. “You’ve just got to make sure you don’t retaliate and just play hard and try to get under their skin.”

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