Boston opened the scoring in Tuesday night’s game against Vancouver. Bruins forward Charlie Coyle fired the rebound of a Charlie McAvoy shot past Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom.
The team celebrated. The fans cheered. The Canucks bench challenged.
Vancouver head coach Travis Green issued a Coach’s Challenge on the play, citing that Boston had entered the zone offside. It wouldn’t have been the first time. The Bruins have lost a league-high five goals this season to Coach’s Challenges, four due to plays that were offside.
This one, though, would hold up after review by linesmen Ryan Daisy and Matt MacPherson along with the NHL’s Situation Room.
The league ruled that Boston’s Sean Kuraly legally tagged up at the blue line prior to Charlie McAvoy entering the offensive zone and touching the puck. While it was a close play — and one where the puck entered the zone while Kuraly was on the wrong side of the blue line — it was the right call.
It’s a textbook delayed offside, per Rule 83.3:
A situation where an attacking player (or players) has preceded the puck across the attacking blue line, but […] the attacking players are in the process of clearing the attacking zone.
If, during the course of the delayed off-side, any member of the attacking team touches the puck, attempts to gain possession of a loose puck, forces the defending puck carrier further back into his own zone, or who is about to make physical contact with the defending puck carrier, the Linesman shall stop play for the off-side violation.
Coyle held back from playing the puck just long enough for his linemate to tag up at the blue line.
“Out of my peripheral [vision] I thought that Kuraly had tagged up, but I wasn’t sure,” said McAvoy. “I was just trying to delay so they could get out of the zone. I tried to straddle the blue for as long as I could. I just tried to not touch [the puck] until he was there.”
Boston head coach Bruce Cassidy, who took a second look at the play on his tablet at the bench, was confident in the call on the ice.
“We felt like it was [a good goal],” said Cassidy. “Charlie didn’t touch the puck until Kuraly had cleared and that was clarified quickly on the bench when we looked at it the second time. The first time I could tell Sean was still in the zone, but we hadn’t touched the puck yet. So I was a little surprised they challenged it, but that’s the way it goes. We weren’t able to capitalize on the power play [after the Canucks were penalized for a failed coach’s challenge], but I was just happy to see the goal stand, to be honest with you.”
Full credit to the linesman, who made the right call – emphatically – in real-time on the ice.