The Ottawa Senators’ Ron Hainsey blasted a goal past Leafs goaltender Freddy Andersen to give Ottawa a 3-2 lead in their season opener. Or so he thought.
The celebration didn’t last long. Hainsey had barely returned to the Ottawa bench when Toronto coach Mike Babcock challenged the play.
The Leafs’ video team caught Bobby Ryan lifting his trailing skate off the ice as forward Anthony Duclair carried the puck across the blueline. Ryan would have been considered onside if his left skate was on the ice. With his foot in the air, though, Ryan was correctly determined to be offside.
“After review, the play was offside, therefore there is no goal,” referee Kyle Rehman announced to the 19,612 in attendance at Scotiabank Arena.
The clock was reset to 12:38 and the teams played on. Toronto went on to score on the next shift, ultimately winning 5-3.
“It’s 3-2 and then obviously we’re kind of back on our heels,” said Toronto coach Mike Babcock. “Fortunately, it was offside, and then we’re able to score a goal and then kind of get momentum back.”
Toronto went 0-for-6 on Coach’s Challenges last season. Their lone offside challenge during the 2018-19 season was unsuccessful.
“That’s a big play in the game, and those guys were on top of it,” said Babcock of his video team: assistant coach Andrew Brewer and analyst Jordan Bean. “Brew and Beanbag got it right, which is important. The challenges this year, you’ve got to know. You flat out have to know.”
Things are looking up for the Leafs. They opened the season with a win on the scoreboard, and a win on a Coach’s Challenge.