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Bad Beats

   by Ben Burns - 01/20/2009

Is there a bad beat tougher to swallow than the dreaded overtime cover?

Your underdog has kept pace and even led for the parts of the game. But a couple of bad breaks seem to rattle your squad.

The favorite grabs the momentum and forces overtime with a late run.

You know you’re cooked even before OT starts.

It happened on Saturday to Georgia Tech backers, who were getting four points at North Carolina State.

Georgia Tech couldn’t shoot (36 percent) and couldn’t get a call. Yet, the Yellow Jackets led for the majority of the game. They took control midway through the second half and owned a 10-point lead with 4:19 to play.

Then, the wheels came off.

Down the stretch, Georgia Tech turned it over three times, allowing the Wolf Pack to force overtime.

The Yellow Jackets continued to tease their supporters, hanging around in OT.

With 37 seconds to play, they were in good shape cover, down just two.

But a turnover and a missed layup that was followed by a needless foul with three seconds left led to a 76-71 cover by N.C. State. Ug.

So if an overtime cover isn’t the toughest of the bad beats, what is?

NHL: New Jersey at Columbus (-115)

First of all, if you have been a consistent Devil backer this season, congratulations: New Jersey is the third most profitable team on the ice this season.

So any whining from Devils fans is unreasonable. But last week was a little crazy.

On Sunday (Jan. 11), the Devils had a video replay go against them in Anaheim. The league review delivered some always-satisfying inconclusive evidence and allowed a questionable Anaheim third-period goal.

The Ducks would go on for a 4-3 win, costing Devils backers a decent payday; New Jersey was +132.

Still, it was a controversial call that could have gone either way. You had to figure the Devils would eventually get one back. It happened Thursday.

Trailing 1-0 at Columbus in the third period, New Jersey scored twice in a 1:13 for 2-1 victory.

The game-winner was a much more controversial than anything that happened in Anaheim and caused a passionate round of boos from the Columbus crowd.

According to the Columbus Dispatch, Columbus goalie Steve Mason appeared to cover up David Clarkston’s wrap-around shot in the third period. But no whistle was blown.

Clarkston whacked away at Mason’s pads, hard enough to eventually shake loose the puck.

During the process, Clarkston lost his balance and fell into the post. At nearly the same time as the post was coming dislodged, New Jersey’s Steve Madden found the loose puck and stuffed it in the net for the winning goal.

A league video review again produced inconclusive evidence, which this time went the Devils’ way.

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