The Washington Capitals opened the scoring 4:13 into Tuesday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, but the goal was wiped off the board by a Coach’s Challenge for goaltender interference.
The Maple Leafs used their timeout to review the play before issuing a Coach’s Challenge.
“I needed some time to process it, some of our communication with our video coaches, and it was just that there was some uncertainty,” Keefe explained of the initial timeout. “It wasn’t really about getting another view or anything like that was more just a little more time to process it all.”
“Our video guys felt strongly that it was (goaltender interference),” Keefe said. “They needed some time to convince me because I’ve seen a lot of those go the other way. But credit to them and to our process in terms of the time out and taking some time to breathe. It’s a pretty stressful situation.”
The move paid off.
After review, referee Kelly Sutherland announced the verdict:
“After Coach’s Challenge for goaltender interference, it is determined that Number 8 Washington interfered with the goalie doing his job,” Sutherland relayed. “Therefore we have no goal.”
From the NHL:
Video review determined Washington’s Alex Ovechkin impaired Joseph Woll’s ability to play his position in the crease prior to Nicklas Backstrom’s goal.
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 Maple Leafs were a perfect 8-for-8 in Coach’s Challenges last season, including two goals overturned for goaltender interference. They’re now 2-for-2 in 2023-24. Head coach Sheldon Keefe and his staff have won 13 straight challenges; their last failed challenge came back in March 2022.
Referees for the game were Kelly Sutherland (#11) and Frederick L’Ecuyer (#17); linespersons were Scott Cherrey (#50) and Julien Fournier (#56).