If we're getting real about this New York Rangers loss to the Washington Capitals in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, the easiest place to lay blame is on the shoulders of Marc Staal, who's poor clearing attempt was knocked down by Jason Arnott before being thrown over to Alex Semin, who ripped it into the back of the net.
Of course, we all know how unfair that blame would be. Staal did in fact make a game-changing mistake Wednesday night, as is such in overtime during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Somebody always makes a mistake -- that's probably how more than half the goals in the NHL are scored, let alone after 60-plus grueling minutes of playoff hockey.
But to jump on Staal for that mistake would be insane, because without him, the Rangers probably don't even get Game 1 into the overtime period. Facing Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Knuble for most of the night, Staal put in a game-high 33:48 of ice time.
After that much work in a night, you can understand how he could make a little error with the puck in overtime. Unfortunately for the Rangers, that little error led directly to a game-winning goal against.
Be sure to check out SBNation.com's full, continuing coverage of this playoff series.