The Washington Capitals lost 4-3 to the Vegas Golden Knights Sunday, suffering their second consecutive loss to the expansion team this season. But there was some controversy after the game.
Golden Knights forward Alex Tuch scored the decisive goal with 5:12 remaining in the third period, but as he did, he appeared to interfere, albeit slightly, with Capitals goaltender Philipp Grubauer.
this is how we won today pic.twitter.com/75T5ank57x
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) February 4, 2018
Barry Trotz would challenge the goal for goaltender interference.
Tuch’s stick appeared to go into Grubauer’s pads and spin the goalie around somewhat. The question for the officials was: Did Tuch’s interference prevent Grubauer from making the save? If Tuch did, that would ultimately negate the goal.
Here’s another look overhead from the goal cam.
After reviewing the play for a minute, officials ruled Tuch’s marker was indeed a good goal.
Postgame, Grubauer said he was spun around while speaking to reporters.
“I didn’t know where the puck was,” Grubauer said. “I was going to go in that direction anyways. It was behind my glove. I pushed it in myself a little bit.
“I don’t know if it was goalie interference,” Grubauer said. “I don’t know what that call is anymore. I can’t answer that so it’s up to the refs or how they feel today. I don’t know what the call is.”
Grubauer added that he wasn’t sure who hit him.
“It happened so fast,” Grubauer said. “Sometimes you don’t know if it’s their guy or our D taking the stick away. I couldn’t tell.”
#Caps Coach Barry Trotz explains why he challenged Vegas’ late game winner. pic.twitter.com/2LjmuwhuIR
— Tarik El-Bashir⌨️🎙🏒 (@TarikNBCS) February 4, 2018
After the game, Trotz admitted that he hoped referees would bail his team out, saying he wasn’t sure himself if the interference was egregious enough to have the goal called back.
“That was one where I was looking at it and that was one where, he’s got his stick there, but it’s not a very obvious one,” Trotz said. “Look – at the time it was a free timeout in a sense. You burn your timeout, but you get everyone reset for the last five minutes or whatever. I was hoping the referee saw a little bit more. When he got him, he was spinning and it’s hard to reach. It looked like Grubi sort of knocked it in.”
Over the last few months, the NHL has seen several goals reversed due to controversial goalie interference rulings. During All-Star Weekend, Commissioner Gary Bettman sought to clarify the rule with officials.
“Overall, the system works, but I think we’ve gotten to the point where everybody’s overthinking the review,” Bettman said. “The intention, particularly on goaltender interference, is: ‘Did you miss something?’ ‘Was there a glaring error?’ Not, ‘Can you search for something that might overturn the call?’”
“The presumption should be the call on the ice was good unless you have a good reason to overturn it, and you shouldn’t have to search for a good reason,” Bettman concluded.
Perhaps a few months ago this goal would have reversed, but on this day it wasn’t.
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