The Boston Bruins unsuccessfully challenged a goaltender interference call on a disallowed goal against the New Jersey Devils.

Most coach’s challenges are defensive in nature. Your team gets scored upon, you challenge the play. Occasionally, though, we see the rare offensive challenge where a team has a goal waved off on the ice and feels it should be a good goal.  Boston had one such play today and went for it.



Boston’s Matt Grzelcyk appeared to beat New Jersey Devils goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood with a slapshot from the point.

The goal was immediately waved off by referee Jon McIsaac.

“The call is no goal on the ice for incidental contact with the goaltender,” McIsaac announced.

Nevertheless, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy challenged the play.  He made his protest just under the wire. The two teams were already lined up for the draw. New Jersey’s Pavel Zacha was tossed from the faceoff dot. Just as linesman Brad Kovachik dropped the puck to resume play, Cassidy called for the challenge.

Per Rule 38.4:

All Coach’s Challenges must be initiated by notice verbally communicated to a Referee prior to the center ice face-off following a GOAL or, in the case of a NO GOAL call by reason of “Interference on the Goalkeeper,” prior to the resumption of play. Teams may not unduly delay the resumption of play while evaluating whether or not to initiate a Coach’s Challenge. Any such delay or delay tactics may result in the denial of a right to Challenge and, at the discretion of the Referee, may also result in a minor penalty for “Delaying the Game.”

It was a lucky break for Boston to even have the opportunity to challenge, which would have been lost had Zacha not been thrown out.

The officials headed over to review the play. After a brief discussion between McIsaac, fellow referee Brian Pochmara, and the NHL’s Situation Room, a ruling was handed down:

It was confirmed that Boston’s Craig Smith made contact in the crease with goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood, impairing his ability to play his position.

The decision was made in accordance with Rule 69.1, which states in part, “Goals should be disallowed only if: (1) an attacking player, either by his positioning or by contact, impairs the goalkeeper’s ability to move freely within his crease or defend his goal.”

The Bruins were assessed a minor penalty for delay of game for the unsuccessful challenge.

Boston was a perfect 2-for-2 on Coach’s Challenges in the 2019-20 regular season, and 1-for-1 in the playoffs.

This is the Bruins’ first failed challenge since May 14, 2019. Curiously, that last failed challenge was also an ‘offensive’ challenge where a Boston goal was initially disallowed for goaltender interference.

Not only did the Bruins kill off the penalty, they managed to score a shorthanded goal. It wouldn’t be enough, as that was their only goal in an eventual 2-1 overtime loss.

Referees for the game were Jon McIsaac (#2) and Brian Pochmara (#16). Linesmen were Brad Kovachik (#71) and Kyle Flemington (#55).