The New Jersey Devils came up with a big victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night. Despite falling behind quickly in the first period and folding like we’re used to seeing, a refreshed club displayed a short memory and quickly responded to tie the game. Early in the second period, it appeared the Devils were going to fall behind again after Josh Manson scored 38 seconds into the middle frame. However, Devils head coach Lindy Ruff won a coaching challenge for goaltender interference. Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar did not agree with the overturned goal.
The situation room reviewed Manson’s goal and determined Avalanche forward Logan O’Connor interfered with Devils goaltender’ Vitek Vanecek’s ability to make the save. Here’s the explanation from the NHL on Ruff’s successful coach’s challenge:
“Video review determined that Logan O’Connor made contact with Vitek Vanecek and impaired his ability to play his position prior to Josh Manson’s goal. According to Rule 38.11, ‘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 replays and consulting with the On-Ice Official(s), determines that the goal should have been disallowed due to “Interference on the Goalkeeper,” as described in Rules 69.1, 69.3 and 69.4.'”
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The Avalanche head coach didn’t dispute whether there was contact made or not. Instead, he claimed Devils forward Timo Meier pushed O’Connor into the crease.
Regardless, the goal came off the board for Colorado. It sparked a swing in momentum for the Devils and Jesper Bratt gave the Devils the lead about three minutes later. Despite walking away with just one of a possible four points in back-to-back games, Bednar was soft-spoken about the disallowed goal.
“I thought it was a good goal,” Bednar explained to Colorado Hockey Now. “I mean, honestly, I just didn’t O’C…he wasn’t going into the goalie without being hit. That was my take on it. That’s what I thought the rule was. They obviously saw it different. Big momentum swing there, right? Then we give up two after that, so we’re chasing the game a little bit. We do some really good things in the third period, fight all the way back, then big breakdown with two minutes left, we give up the slot shot right in the middle of the hashmarks, and it ends up costing us.”
It’s not every night you see a head coach disagree with the officials ruling. That’s not to say that Bednar is going to receive any discipline for publically disagreeing with the call. He was respectful in offering his opinion and understanding of the rule.
As for Ruff, the challenge was a big moment in victory for the Devils. In the final third of the regular season, New Jersey needs to collect as many points as possible. Taking two against a Stanley Cup favorite is exactly the kind of start the Deviks wanted to have post-All-Star break. Winning the coach’s challenge was a big part of Tuesday night’s victory.