Recently, the NHL has been littered with controversial calls. Some have been more egregious than others. Some have even gifted undeserving teams a Western Conference Final berth.
During the Penguins’ Wednesday night prime time match-up with the Lightning, the team, who after an impressive win streak has now dropped three-straight, was the victim of a call that might have cost them at least one potential point in the standings and helped relieve the sting from the previous night’s loss to the Florida Panthers.
It was a tough, hard fought contest from both clubs throughout the full 60 minutes, seemingly giving off the feel of a playoff game. The Penguins, despite a valiant effort, admittedly took a few too many costly penalties down the stretch, and the Bolts were able to capitalize in the waning minutes of the game to leave the ice with a satisfying 3-2 victory.
But what Penguins fans are all waking up feeling bent out of shape about is likely due to the bitter way this game ended — with Kris Letang flinging a puck into Andrei Vasilevskiy’s glove hand during a chaotic net-front scrum as the buzzer went off.
The play was reviewed by head referee Tim Peel (lol) for what felt like 20 minutes. The argument for the Penguins lied within the shot itself, which looked to have enough velocity to force the Tampa Bay netminder’s glove over the goal line. It happens quickly, so it may take a couple of watches to see the glove hand jerk backwards.
The problem, and what was probably the reason the review took so long, was because the puck’s location in Vasilevskiy’s webbing was inconclusive from the camera angles provided by the replay. The folks in Toronto took their sweet time and reported to Peel that the puck “never crossed the goal line,” which honestly, is a pretty weak decision to make with an overtime period in an exciting hockey game hanging in the balance.
Let’s take an even closer look at the location though, shall we?
From this obviously high quality telestration, one could argue that the puck cleared the goal line and should’ve been called a goal. You would imagine the folks in Toronto had access to a couple better camera angles than the grainy ones they showed on NBCSN, but there was no evidence to the contrary.
Instead, the Penguins and their fans got a “the puck never crossed the goal line” reasoning, despite it seemingly very clearly not being the case. That’s probably the most bothersome element of this situation. If Peel would have just stated that the replay was too inconclusive to overturn, it would have been easier to swallow.
Letang, despite thinking his team played pretty well, showed frustration in the post-game media scrum.
“It was just a tough way to lose,” Letang said. “It was luck. He was swimming. I have to put it top shelf.”
This one hurts. Onto the next.