A critical goal Tampa Bay Lightning goal from Corey Perry withstood a video review and a Coach’s Challenge from the Toronto Maple Leafs.
With Toronto’s Michael Bunting ejected for an illegal check , the Lightning were on a five-minute power play. Just over two minutes in, Perry put the puck past Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov to give the Bolts a three-goal lead.
Samsonov appeared to be securely against the post, with Tampa’s Perry and Ross Colton jabbing at the puck from the side of the net. Referee Wes McCauley skated in from the corner and signalled a goal, putting the Lightning up 5-2.
The league, though, wanted to make sure.
The NHL’s Situation Room reviewed the play to confirm whether the puck crossed the line. This review was only to determine the location of the puck; they don’t consider potential goaltender interference or the timing of the ref’s whistle.
An overhead look appeared to show the puck over the line and partially behind the goal post. The goal line was obscured by snow piled near the post, which left the review inconclusive.
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) April 19, 2023
From the NHL:
The Referee’s original call on the ice was goal. There was no conclusive video evidence to overturn the Referee’s call.
With the video replay inconclusive, the call on the ice stood: it’s a goal.
Confusingly, referee Wes McCauley announced the result by saying, “After reviewing the play, the puck completely crossed the line. We have a goal.”
Right outcome, but not exactly the right explanation of the Situation Room’s determination.
That’s when Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe decided to roll the dice and challenge the play for goaltender interference.
Given the situation – facing a three-goal deficit – it’s hard to blame Keefe for giving it a shot. He admitted as much.
“I thought the goal we were challenging was the back-breaker,” Keefe said. “We didn’t look at it as a high-percentage challenge. There is one angle where you can tell Samsonov’s foot is impacted by sticks. We saw something. If there was a five- or 10-per-cent chance, I thought given where the game was at, if we could get that goal back, we maybe have a chance to get back in the game.”
There’s contact between the sticks of Colton and Perry, but they may have been entitled to that assuming the puck is not covered. From Rule 69.7:
In a rebound situation, or where a goalkeeper and attacking player(s) are simultaneously attempting to play a loose puck, whether inside or outside the crease, incidental contact with the goalkeeper will be permitted, and any goal that is scored as a result thereof will be allowed.
Of course, that’s limited to incidental contact — not pushing the goalie’s pad in.
In the event that a goalkeeper has been pushed into the net together with the puck by an attacking player after making a stop, the goal will be disallowed.
The refs – and the Situation Room – failed to elaborate, only determining that there was no goaltender interference on the play. From the league:
The Situation Room confirmed no goaltender interference infractions occurred prior to Corey Perry’s goal.
The failed challenge meant Toronto would be two men down for the next two minutes. They killed off the 5-on-3, only to surrender a 5-on-4 goal before the end of the period.
Coming into the postseason, the Leafs were a perfect 8-for-8 on Coach’s Challenges this season. That was Keefe’s first failed challenge since March 10, 2022, a streak of 11 straight challenge wins.
Tampa went on to win the game 7-3. Referees were Wes McCauley (#4) and Frederick L’Ecuyer (#17), with linesmen Matt MacPherson (#83) and Jesse Marquis (#86).