Washington forward Evgeny Kuznetsov nearly scored to give the Capitals a 2-0 lead in Saturday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres. A power-play stuff-in attempt appeared to cross the line.
The goal, though, was immediately waved off by referee Ghislain Hebert.
An extended video review took place, with the play being scrutinized from every possible angle. There was debate as to whether or not the puck completely crossed the line.
It was all for naught.
The goal would be disallowed regardless of whether or not the puck crossed the line.
From the NHL Situation Room:
At 8:10 of the second period in the Sabres/Capitals game, the Situation Room initiated a video review to further examine a play at the Buffalo net. The Referee informed the Situation Room that he blew his whistle to stop play when he lost sight of the puck as it laid on the goal line. The decision was made in accordance of Rule 31.2 which states, in part, that “the Referee may deem the play to be stopped slightly prior to the whistle actually being blown. The fact that the puck may come loose or cross the goal line prior to the sound of the whistle has no bearing if the Referee has ruled that the play had been stopped prior to this happening.” This is not a reviewable play, therefore the Referee’s call on the ice stands – no goal Washington Capitals.
The ‘intent to blow’ provision is referenced in 31.2:
As there is a human factor involved in blowing the whistle to stop play, the Referee may deem the play to be stopped slightly prior to the whistle actually being blown. The fact that the puck may come loose or cross the goal line prior to the sound of the whistle has no bearing if the Referee has ruled that the play had been stopped prior to this happening.
And in 78.5:
Apparent goals shall be disallowed by the Referee and the appropriate announcement made by the Public Address Announcer […] when the Referee deems the play has been stopped, even if he had not physically had the opportunity to stop play by blowing his whistle.
Intent to blow is not a reviewable play. Regardless of what the NHL’s Situation Room determined through their video review, if the referee intended to blow the play dead, the goal must be waved off.
Kuznetsov was diplomatic in his comments regarding the lost goal.
“It’s hard to see for me, but they have so many cameras so I always believe them,” Kuznetsov said. “Next time I will put more juice on that puck for sure.”
A little more juice, a little less whistle.