Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk came out of the box to score his second goal of the night against the Edmonton Oilers on a play that looked to be offside.
Yes, he was allowed to be on the ice. No, he wasn’t offside.
Why Did Tkachuk Leave The Penalty Box?
Flames defenseman Oliver Kylington took the initial holding penalty with 15:16 remaining in the third period. Edmonton’s Evander Kane and Calgary’s Matthew Tkachuk took matching roughing minors at the same stoppage.
At the time the penalties were assessed, the captain of the shorthanded team gets to decide which player will come out of xthe box. The other two players’ penalties cancel out. Calgary opted for Tkachuk to come out of the box. His penalty went up on the scoreboard, and he was released when time expired.
From Rule 19.1:
When multiple penalties are assessed to both teams, equal numbers of minor and major penalties shall be eliminated using the coincidental penalty rule and any differential in time penalties shall be served in the normal manner and displayed on the penalty time clock accordingly
That differential was one of the minor penalties, which the Flames decided would apply to Tkachuk. From 16.2:
When the minor penalties of two players of the same team terminate at the same time, the Captain of that team shall designate to the Referee which of such players will return to the ice first and the Referee will instruct the Penalty Timekeeper accordingly.
Referee Wes McCauley confirmed at the official scorer’s table prior to the expiration of Tkachuk’s minor penalty.
With no additional loss of manpower on the ice due to the offsetting penalties, Kane and Kylington remained in the box until the next stoppage in play.
Tkachuk was eligible to come out of the box, and therefore legally on the ice to score the goal.
This situation is somewhat rare, though it has happened before, on a Sidney Crosby goal against the Islanders.
Wasn’t Tkachuk Offside?
Tkachuk was in the attacking zone. The puck crossed the blueline into the neutral zone, but Tkachuk never tagged up. He didn’t have to. The defending player put the puck back into the zone, negating the possible offside. Draisaitl’s pass deflected off the skate of Darnell Nurse and back into the Edmonton zone, allowing Tkachuk to play the puck without tagging up at the blue line. From Rule 83.2:
“When a defending player propels the puck out of his defending zone and the puck clearly rebounds off a defending player in the neutral zone back into the defending zone, all attacking players are eligible to play the puck.”
Tkachuk stayed in the zone, circled back to get the puck, and scored to give Calgary an 8-6 lead.
The Oilers wisely opted not to challenge. While it looked like Tkachuk may have been offside, he was legally permitted to play the puck.
Referees for the game were Wes McCauley (#4) and Eric Furlatt (#27); linesmen were Brad Kovachik (#71) and Devin Berg (#87).