Marco Scandella definitely doesn’t have the height to make in basketball, but the Minnesota Wild blueliner brought a bit of the hardcourt to the rink Thursday with a brilliant alley-oop pass to spring Charlie Coyle for a breakaway goal. Scandella and Coyle might be lucky the goal counted, too, because it appeared to come a fraction of an inch from being called back.
Scandella’s pass came with time winding down in the second frame. After gaining possession in the Minnesota zone, Scandella quickly flipped the puck up and over the Los Angeles Kings defense and down the ice. When the puck hit the ice, it landed right in front of Coyle, but the spin of the puck caused it to take a short hop instead of the long bounce Coyle was expecting. Coyle was able to grab the puck from behind him, though, before skating in for a nice finish to beat Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick:
The quick hands by Coyle were enough to get Quick to commit early to making the save, and Coyle was able to use the daylight he opened up to bury the puck past Quick. Watching at full speed, the pass by Scandella paired with Coyle’s pickup and subsequent goal made this a spectacular goal, but there’s one problem: it’s almost impossible to tell if Coyle was onside.
After the goal, Kings coach Darryl Sutter initiated a Coach’s Challenge:
Coyle’s goal looks about as close as a play can be to being offside without actually being offside and it’s no surprise that it took a few minutes before the officiating crew ruled it was a good goal.
If you’re not convinced Coyle was onside, however, the NHL offered an explanation: “After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Linesman determined that Coyle had possession and control of the puck as he entered the attacking zone, even though his skates preceded the puck over the blue line. According to Rule 83.1, ‘a player actually controlling the puck who shall cross the line ahead of the puck shall not be considered ‘off-side,’ provided he had possession and control of the puck prior to his skates crossing the blue line.’ ”
As the Wild broadcast team said during the game, if Coyle’s stick is on the puck as he crosses the blueline, this play is likely a no-brainer onside call. But even with the puck jumping into the air, the linesmen believed Coyle still had possession, which resulted in a good goal for Minnesota. Coyle’s tally would end up as one of two insurance goals in the game, as the Wild went on to win 3-0.