The National Hockey League officials have received a lot of criticism this year, and a lot of it has been absolutely deserved, but this one was such a frantic and razor close situation that you can't really blame them for getting it wrong the first time around.
The Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins were facing off for Game 4 of their second round series in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs and as you would expect between these two teams it was a very tightly contested game. In fact with under three minutes to go in the second period we were all tied up at 1 and it looked like we would be in store for a very exciting third period and possibly even more after the fact. However with a little under two and a half minutes to go everything went crazy.
A wild scramble in front of the Washington Capitals net led to a situation in which the Pittsburgh Penguins felt that they had scored a goal, sneaking one past veteran goaltender Braden Holtby, but both Holtby and the official overlooking the net seemed to believe that Holtby had managed to make the save. The play was ruled no goal but it wasn't long before the officials were called over to the booth in order to review the play, ensuring that they made the right call.
The first few camera angles were not very conclusive, and in fact may have led you to believe that Holtby did in fact get his blocker out in front of the puck to make the save, but thankfully there were several additional camera angles. One view showed the stick of Penguins star forward Evgeni Malkin practically parallel above the goal line and appeared to show that by the time the puck hit Holtby's blocker it had already made it's way across the goal line and into the net. That single angle however may not have been enough to overturn the ruling of no goal called on the ice, but there was one more additional and far more conclusive angle.
A camera angle that the NBC broadcast referred to as a the parallax view was then show and once this made it's way onto the big screen the reaction of fans in the building at PPG Paints Arena left no doubt about what the correct call was here. The puck had clearly crossed over into the Capitals net and while it was a heroic effort from Holtby to attempt to make a blocker save it was clear that he had not gotten his hand up in time. The officials came back out onto the ice and awarded Malkin with the goal, giving the Penguins a 2 - 1 lead over the Capitals.
We were not done yet however. Washington Capitals head coach Barry Trotz challenged the overturned ruling claiming that there had been goaltender interference on the play, so back to the review booth the officials went. There was such a wild scramble in front of the net though that you would have been hard pressed to argue for conclusive goaltender interference, and the ruling of a good goal was upheld.
Fans in Washington probably won't love it but it seems like the correct call was made in the end.