The Capitals found themselves down early against the Dallas Stars after a controversial goal by Dallas forward Devin Shore was upheld after a coach’s challenge.
Less than two minutes into the game, a long-range shot from Stephen Johns was deflected on net forcing a spectacular toe save from Braden Holtby. The save, however, forced him to slide to the far left. Stars forward Patrick Sharp took the puck for a wrap around to the right. Holtby tried to recover, but could not as Shore was in the crease blocking his way. Shore had been pushed into the crease by Brooks Orpik and was eventually able to knock the puck into the empty net after Sharp’s initial attempt did not go in.
You can see the play in the video above.
The goal was immediately challenged by Barry Trotz, but was upheld after the review.
The NHL released an explanation via the Situation Room blog:
After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Referee determined that the actions of the Washington player caused Shore to contact Holtby before the puck crossed the goal line. The decision was made in accordance with Note 2 of Rule 78.7 (ii) which states, in part, that the goal should be allowed because "the attacking Player was pushed, shoved or fouled by a defending Player causing the attacking Player to come into contact with the goalkeeper."
Orpik certainly pushed Shore into the crease. There’s no argument there. The problem is that Shore made no effort to get out of the crease once he was in. When a player is pushed into the crease, that doesn’t give him the right to simply set up shop. It’s incumbent on him to make a reasonable effort to get out.
When watching the play, Shore has an opportunity to attempt to get out of the crease, but remains in place. At best, he was unintentionally blocking Holtby’s path to the puck. At worst, he was taking advantage of Orpik’s push to restrict Holtby from reaching the far side of the net.
Either way, it certainly looked like goalie interference, even with the push from Orpik.
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