San Jose Sharks coach David Quinn watched the replay of Mason McTavish’s game-tying third-period goal for the Anaheim Ducks on Friday — and still didn’t know how the NHL allowed it to stand.
At first blush, Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler appeared to carry the puck into the Sharks’ zone after forward Adam Henrique had already fully crossed the blue line as he got around winger Evgeny Svechnikov. Henrique then reached back with his leg to try and tag up, but the puck was already over the line.
The Ducks scored shortly afterward, as Henrique intercepted a pass from Marc-Edouard Vlasic in the Sharks’ zone that was intended for Svechnikov. Henrique then found an open McTavish, who beat Kaapo Kahkonen at the 13:13 mark for his second goal of the game and ninth of the season.
The Sharks immediately challenged for offside, seeing what they thought was a clear case of offside.
However, in its explanation of upholding the goal, the NHL said, “After reviewing all available replays, the Situation Room supported the Linesman’s call on the ice that there was no conclusive evidence to show that Cam Fowler made contact with the puck prior to Adam Henrique legally tagging up.
“Additionally, there was no conclusive evidence to show Fowler was in an off-side position before Henrique legally tagged up.”
Similar to what Cale Makar had during last year’s playoffs, Fowler didn’t have possession until Henrique touched the blue line.
— TEAL TOWN USA – A San Jose Sharks Podcast (@TEALTOWNUSA) January 7, 2023
Clearly, the Sharks felt Fowler had possession of the puck when he crossed the blue line.
“I didn’t even see the play but I just heard almost 99% of the time, they say, yeah, it was offside,” Sharks winger Kevin Labanc said. “Once the refs were kind of hanging around, looking at the video and you’re just kind of scratching your head like, what are they looking at?”
Quinn said neither of the two-game officials, Furman South or Chris Schlenker, came over to explain the ruling.
“After watching it, I still think it was offsides,” Quinn said. “No one tagged up. Someone has to tag up there, and regardless, to me, I want to get a better explanation later on. But I thought it was I still think it’s offside.”
The Sharks were given a delay of game penalty for the unsuccessful challenge, which they killed. But Ducks defenseman John Klingberg scored in overtime to give his team a 5-4 win.
Mason McTavish with the equalizer! 👀 pic.twitter.com/uJ769sPspI
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) January 7, 2023
The third-period sequence evoked memories of a play defenseman Cale Makar was involved in last spring during Game 1 of the Western Conference final between the Colorado Avalanche and Edmonton Oilers on May 31.
On the play, it appeared Makar carried the puck into the Oilers’ zone before Valeri Nichushkin legally tagged up at the blue line.
Makar later scored and Edmonton challenged for offside. However, the NHL determined that Nichushkin had legally tagged up before Makar entered the offensive zone with the puck on his stick. Makar made contact with the puck in the offensive zone after Nichushkin was in an on-side position.