The New York Islanders took a 1-0 lead over the Capitals less than three minutes into the game.
Except upon replay, Tom Kuhnhackl’s breakaway goal probably should not have counted because the Islanders were offside.
An obscure rule prevented the Capitals from challenging.
The play began after a turnover by Dmitry Orlov in the defensive zone. Kuhnhackl picked off Orlov’s errant cross-ice pass to TJ Oshie and began skating into the offensive zone on a breakaway. The Islanders forward raised his leg on the forehand, deked to his backhand, and roofed the puck past Braden Holtby.
But wait a second! Leo Komarov was still in the Capitals zone when Kuhnhackl crossed the blue line. The play should have been offside.
If you look at the blue line camera at NYCB Live, you can see how egregious and easy the call should have been. Komarov was offside by several feet.
According to Alan May, Capitals head coach Todd Reirden did not challenge the goal because the linesman ruled it a tag-up offside and blew the initial call.
“First of all, it should have been blown offside by the linesman,” May said at intermission. “As soon as that player pushed the puck inside the line, there’s a player in there. The Islanders did that. He lost possession of it. So they blow that call.
“But once the goal is scored, the linesman can now say it’s a delayed tag up offside, which is an unchallengeable call on a goal,” May continued. “It’s one of those ridiculous [rules]. But that was definitely a blown call by the linesman. The initial offside should have been called.”
Kuhnhackl was interviewed by MSG’ Shannon Hogan during intermission and believed the play was offside too.
Tom Kuhnhackl on his goal: "I thought it was offside for sure" pic.twitter.com/Xz5y7gJMEU
— Ian Oland (@ianoland) March 2, 2019
“Well to be honest, I thought it was offside for sure,” Kuhnhackl said. “I looked over there and saw Leo over there kind of along the blue line so, yeah, I almost kind of stopped playing, but in the end and I’m glad it went in.”
According to Hogan, Islanders’ analyst Brendan Burke believed the play was onside because the puck wasn’t on Kuhnackl’s stick when he entered the zone.
“Well apparently, Brendan Burke went through the rule book and because the puck was not on your stick when you were bringing it in, it was actually onside,” she said to Kuhnhackl. “So that hesitation looking at Leo paid off.”
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