The Colorado Avalanche’s game-opening goal was wiped off the board after the Tampa Bay Lightning challenged the play for a missed offside during Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Avs forward Valeri Nichuskin – who’s had his share of offside controversies this postseason – appeared to give Colorado a 1-0 lead, firing the puck past Bolts netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy.
The Lightning bench, though, challenged that Colorado defenseman Bowen Byram was not able to keep the puck in the zone after an attempted clear by the Lightning. After a lengthy review, the NHL’s Situation Room overturned the call on ice, ruling the play offside. The score went back to 0-0 and clock wound back to 15:04.
Tampa coach Jon Cooper has made the most of his Coach’s Challenges this postseason. The Lightning are a perfect 2-0 this postseason, successfully overturning a goal in the opening game of their series against the Florida Panthers. Tampa is 2-0 in playoff games where they successfully challenge.
The Lightning went 4-for-8 (50%) on challenges during the regular season. On the flip side, the Lightning have lost two goals to Coach’s Challenges this postseason, both against the Panthers.
Despite his success, Cooper doesn’t think it should be up to the coaches to get the call right.
“I’m a believer — and I don’t know if I’m in the minority on this — but I don’t know if that should be in our hands,” Cooper said after the game, per ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski. “If it’s either onside or offside, I just don’t know why I have to make that decision when the stakes are this high.”
“Here’s the issue – and I’ve stated this before – we’re at the mercy of the replays we get. So somebody could unplug something up top, we can have no replays and something that is a black and white call might be missed.”
“In the end, everyone wants to get the call right, and the right call was offside. But it can be a little nerve-wracking. Sometimes I wished we didn’t have to make that call. But it worked out.”
Tampa won the game 6-2. Referees for the game were Gord Dwyer (#19) and Chris Rooney (#5); linesmen were Ryan Daisy (#81) and Brad Kovachik (#71).