It’s the most exciting play in sports: the faceoff violation.
The NHL made enforcing the faceoff rules a point of emphasis this season which led to a lot of confusion and a lot of penalties in the preseason.
Three games into the regular season, the Caps were finally witness to a faceoff violation in a game that mattered.
At 7:13 into the second period, both teams set up for a faceoff in the Capitals’ defensive zone. Brayden Point was first tossed from the circle. Then, Yanni Gourde was also given a faceoff violation.
When two players are given a violation in the same faceoff, that results in a minor penalty and Tampa was given a minor, much to the dismay of Tampa coach John Cooper and the Lightning fans.
INSTANT ANALYSIS: LIGHTNING STRIKE LATE AGAINST CAPITALS
In a moment that seemed almost as if the linesmen were trolling the fans, Nicklas Backstrom was tossed from the faceoff to start the power play. Evgeny Kuznetsov, however, was able to take the draw without incurring the linesman’s wrath.
Oshie scored his second goal of the game on the resulting Caps’ power play to put Washington up 3-2. That goal ended up giving the Caps a point on the night as Washington fell 4-3 in overtime.
As dumb as it may seem, the players are on notice.
The refs are still calling the faceoff violations in the regular season and those penalties matter.