Pittsburgh head coach Mike Sullivan was baffled after losing a challenge on an Islanders goal.
Anders Lee’s blast from the slot gave New York a 2-1 lead midway through the second period of Friday’s game. Sullivan issued a Coach’s Challenge, believing that the Isles were clearly offside on the zone entry. Linesmen Derek Amell and Michel Cormier reviewed the play, confirming their original call on the ice.
Lee’s right skate was in the zone with his left foot off the ice at the time the puck crossed the blueline. He was able to get his skate down and back over the blueline before Justin Bailey touched the puck. Think of it as a delayed offside, with Lee tagging up.
The NHL’s official ruling:
At 9:18 of the second period in the Islanders/Penguins game, Pittsburgh requested a Coach’s Challenge to review if New York was off-side prior to Anders Lee’s goal.
After reviewing all available replays and consulting with the Linesman, NHL Hockey Operations staff confirmed that that the Lee tagged up in the neutral zone before Josh Bailey touched the puck in the attacking zone, rendering the play onside. Therefore the original call stands – good goal New York Islanders.
“I understand the logic, but I’m not sure I agree with it,” said Sullivan. “For me, the fundamental discussion is around possession. If a player takes his stick off the puck, theoretically, for me, he still has possession of the puck. Players do that all the time. I do understand the officials and the logic associated with [the decision]. I’m not sure I agree with the interpretation.”
Sullivan won a challenge earlier in the game which resulted in the Isles’ opening goal being wiped off the board.
The Penguins later tied the game, ultimately losing in overtime.