Outrageous overturned offside Bruins goal ruins Zdeno Chara’s big night

Matt Kalman
November 05, 2019 - 11:21 pm

In the city that once called the police over a vicious but clean check made by Zdeno Chara, the Bruins captain’s 1,500th regular season NHL game was ruined by a robbery Tuesday.

The theft was not executed by the host Montreal Canadiens in their 5-4 victory, but by the men with the whistles and their counterparts in the “war room” in Toronto.

Charlie Coyle appeared to give the Bruins a 5-4 lead at 5:23 of the third period after a sweet pass by rookie Zach Senyshyn (more on him later). But instead it was ruled that seven seconds earlier Coyle had entered the attacking zone offside.

In the press release from the NHL, the league explained: “According to Rule 38.9, ‘The standard for overturning the call in the event of a ‘goal’ call on the ice is that the NHL Situation Room, after reviewing any and all available replays and consulting with the on-ice official(s), determines that one or more players on the attacking team preceded the puck into the attacking zone prior to the goal being scored and that, as a result, the play should have been stopped for an ‘offside’ infraction; where this standard is met, the goal will be disallowed."

There league didn’t not acknowledge that it could’ve been ruled Coyle was in possession of the puck and thus allowed to enter the zone before it.

And even if you want to argue that Coyle wasn’t in possession, even the best replay showed that maybe he was offside by a millimeter. There wasn’t evidence to overturn a “goal” call on the ice. And anyone commending Montreal coach Claude Julien, coaching his 1,200th game, for the courage to challenge in the face of a Boston power play if he was wrong, should know that Julien obviously felt the game was slipping from his team’s hands. So why not challenge if it’s basically going to be coin flip to determine the result of a NHL game?

Now would the Bruins have held onto the lead if Coyle’s goal was allowed to stand? It’s unlikely. As goalie Tuukka Rask’s play on Ben Chiarot’s game-winning goal at 9:06, in addition to a couple of Montreal’s goals in the first period showed, the Bruins were unlikely to escape having allowed just four goals on the night. It probably would’ve taken one or more scores to get out of the Bell Centre with two points.

Rask entered Tuesday’s contest with a .949 save percentage and 1.49 goals-against average. He was due to throw in a clunker, and with the Bruins playing as loose in front of him as they played in front of Jaroslav Halak in the 6-4 win against Pittsburgh on Monday, a steeplechase ensued.

"Just not tracking it well. Tough night for me. I thought we battled well. Could have easily won the game. But I couldn’t really make a save,” Rask told the media in Montreal after the Bruins had their six-game winning streak stopped and lost in regulation for just the second time this season.

Nonetheless, the Bruins proved Monday they could win against a formidable opponent without playing their best, and they easily could’ve pulled out the victory in Montreal. While Rask was off his game, the new third line of Anders Bjork and Senyshyn flanking Coyle was on theirs. Bjork scored, Coyle was in front of the Montreal net all night and Senyshyn helped set up two of Boston’s goals (although he left with as many assists as the Bruins got points).

Sean Kuraly finally scored his first goal of the season, as did Connor Clifton. If only Charlie Coyle wore skates a size or two smaller.

Or maybe if the NHL, following a trend shared by all the other professional leagues, didn’t decide that their matches could be left in the hands of guys watching screens as though the actual sports are outgrowths of the eSports all these leagues are investing in.

Remember when your mother complained you watched too much TV and it was bad for your health. Well now you can get paid to watch a screen and do harm to the outcomes of athletic endeavors that should be determined by the guys with the sticks and, not the ones with the iPads.

In the first period, during a television timeout, the fans at Bell Centre gave Chara a standing ovation for his accomplishment – a classy act considering the history between the Bruins and the Canadiens, between Chara and some of the Montreal’s best players over the years.

But when the final horn sounded, those fans should’ve given a standing ovation to the officials and the inventors of the replay challenge rule.

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