Wednesday night’s battle between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning came right down to the wire.
Trailing by one, the Pens nearly sent the game to overtime on a shot that would’ve barely beaten the buzzer — but didn’t beat Bolts goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy.
The goal-line stop — clearly called ‘no goal’ on the ice — immediately went to video review. While plays eligible for the Coach’s Challenge are automatically reviewed in the final minute of regulation, no challenge would’ve been necessary on this play. No, this was the more traditional type of review, which was checking for two things: Did the puck cross the line? If it did, was it before the clock hit 0.0?
The review stretched on, both teams waiting to see if they’d be heading to overtime or if their respective nights were over.
Complicating matters for the Situation Room was the fact that Vasilevskiy’s glove has both back straps and black stitching in the webbing. The sight of black would not be enough to confirm unless it could be clearly identified as the puck.
After a few different angles and quite a few minutes, a decision was made by the NHL’s Situation Room. Referee Tim Peel, who waved off the initial attempt in real-time, relayed the message. No goal.
“After video review, it has been determined that the puck never crossed the goal line,” announced Peel to the 19,092 at Amalie Arena. “We have no goal.”
The official word from the league confirmed that video replays were inconclusive on the play.
Video review could not determine that the puck completely crossed the goal line. Therefore, the Situation Room supported the Referee’s “no goal” call on the ice.
“You have to really make sure [of the call],” said Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman of the extensive delay as the league reviewed the play. “But the longer it took, the more confident I got that it wasn’t in. It’s tough to go along and all of a sudden find a goal.”
Penguins defenseman Kris Letang was frustrated after game, having come so close to securing an extra point and giving his club a chance to go for two.
“It was just a tough way to lose,” Letang said. “It was luck. He was swimming. I have to put it top shelf.”
Vasilevskiy more or less agreed with Letang’s assessment at his last-ditch effort to keep the puck out of the net.
“There was a big scramble and I just tried to seal the bottom of the net,” he said. “He just shot it into my glove. It’s a kind of never-give-up play. It works sometimes. Not every time, though.”
The Tampa goaltender’s save worked, and so did video review. Sure, it wasn’t perfect. It wasn’t even conclusive. But such is hockey. Everything worked the way it was supposed to.
But, boy, some puck tracking technology sure would be nice right about now, eh?