We’ve seen multiple Coach’s Challenges in the same game before, but never on the same play that was initially a no-goal.
Both benches got a chance to throw their challenge flags on Sunday when the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers squared off.
Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux put the puck past Pens netminder Matt Murray. The goal was immediately waved off by referee Dan O’Rourke due to goaltender interference. Flyers head coach Scott Gordon challenged the play, prompting O’Rourke and fellow ref Pierre Lambert to head to the scorer’s table and don their headsets. Review of the play showed that the stick contact with Murray came not from Flyers winger Jakub Voracek, but from Penguins defenseman Jack Johnson. Incidental contact was made, but not enough to disallow the goal.
The call on the ice was overturned. Flyers goal.
For a moment, at least.
With the goal on the board, now it was Pens’ bench boss Mike Sullivan’s turn to issue a challenge, this time that the play was offside. Replays showed that Jakub Voracek was a step ahead of the play, with his trailing skate entering the offensive zone ahead of the puck.
The goal was waved off.
“They said no goal and I saw the replay,” said Giroux. “It was a goal. Then they put it on the big screen, offside. Then, obviously, it wasn’t a goal. It was a lot of up and down there.”
Sullivan is in favor of the challenge process, which certainly benefited his team on Sunday.
“I like it,” Sullivan said. “The intent is to try and get the calls right. Refereeing in this league is a difficult job because things happen so fast. The intent is to try to get the call right, so I do think it’s beneficial.”
It was back and forth and, as Flyers goalie Carter Hart put it “a little bit crazy.”
Ultimately, though, they got the call right.