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Taylor Takes Blame for Bruins’ Loss

April 27, 1998

BOSTON (AP) _ Of all the complaining that is coming out of Boston after a disallowed goal cost the Bruins a victory against Washington, none of it is coming from Tim Taylor.

``I know I was at fault,″ the Bruins forward said Monday, a day after the Capitals beat Boston 3-2 in double overtime to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series.

``It would be easy for me to say it was the referee’s fault, that he made a bad call,″ said Taylor, whose skate was in the crease when the would-be game-winner was scored. ``But I know that I was in there. And I know the rule.″

The Bruins had rallied from a 2-0 deficit and appeared to win when P.J. Axelsson beat Olaf Kolzig with 15:43 gone in the first overtime. But referee Paul Devorski asked the video official upstairs whether Taylor had slipped into the crease before the puck.

The Capitals video crew ran out to tell the bench that the goal would be disallowed. But on the Boston bench, the players were confident that the victory would stand.

Taylor knew they were looking at him, but he thought he had been careful to keep his right foot out of the crease. What he didn’t realize is that his left skate had slid halfway into the blue area that’s off-limits.

But even after teammate Ted Donato, who saw the replay on a television behind the bench, said Taylor was in the crease, they didn’t think that would nullify the goal. That’s because the Bruins thought that the referee had the authority to allow a goal if the encroaching player didn’t affect the play.

``I thought, ‘It’s no problem. It’s going to be a goal,’ ″ Taylor said. ``I honestly thought I was fine.″

The only Bruins pessimist was coach Pat Burns, who started yelling at the officials as soon as they cast doubt on the victory.

``I knew when he pointed up there I wasn’t going to like what was coming down,″ Burns said Monday.

Bruins general manager Harry Sinden said the referees were told midway through the season that they should allow a goal in such circumstances. The NHL rule book makes no mention of referee’s discretion, and Devorksi said he was unaware of any rule change.

NHL director of officials Bryan Lewis issued a statement through a spokesman Sunday night that supported Devorski’s ruling but was sufficiently ambiguous to leave the issue unresolved.

``I’m confused,″ Capitals coach Ron Wilson said. ``I was told by Bryan Lewis, `If he’s in the crease, it’s no goal.′ It’s as simple as that.″

Either way, it doesn’t matter to Taylor.

``I wasn’t in the meetings with the general managers. I don’t know what they said,″ he said. ``It’s something I should have been aware of. Unfortunately, I wasn’t, and it cost us a big game.″

Although Burns was fuming at Devorski while the call was being made upstairs, he was more calm after the game and on Monday.

``We’re going to wipe away our whining problems,″ he said. ``The season is far from over.″

His message seemed to get through to his players, who were more concerned about falling behind 2-0 in each of the first three games than about the winning goal that wasn’t.

``The bottom line is, we’ve been falling behind two goals every game, and you can’t do that against a team like Washington,″ Bruins goalie Byron Dafoe said. ``Eventually, they’re going to finish us off.″

Just as the Bruins weren’t taking the loss too hard, the Capitals weren’t floating after escaping with a victory Wilson called ``highway robbery.″

But Wilson, whose team had lost seven consecutive overtime playoff games, is hoping that luck is starting to turn Washington’s way.

``It’s like that flesh-eating virus, where sometimes we consume ourselves,″ he said. ``Right now, we’ve got a goaltender who’s fighting off that virus until we get (the offense) back on our feet.... Hopefully, yesterday was a watershed event for our franchise.″

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