The Pittsburgh Penguins game turned on a whistle Tuesday night. Later in the first period of a see-saw, scrappy game, the Penguins seemingly scored a go-ahead goal.
As Brock McGinn’s shot rolled up Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy’s chest, over his shoulder, and dropped into the vacated slot behind the goalie, McGinn raced past two Tampa Bay defenders and the goalie for the tap-in tally.
The puck never stopped moving, but officials lost sight of the three-inch black vulcanized rubber.
“You know, the referee came over and said he made a mistake. He lost sight of the puck. He was on the backside of the goaltender…He didn’t see it. It was a quick whistle,” Sullivan said. “I was appreciative of his honesty, and that’s hockey. There’s a human element sometimes.”
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To add more insult to the play, officials assessed McGinn a high-sticking penalty. As you can see, he was in the act of celebration, only to punch back with his stick still raised.
Statistically, the Penguins were on the short end of the scoring chances in the first period but had a big advantage in the second period, though Tampa Bay scored all three goals in the period.
The decimated Penguins lineup again featured Evan Rodrigues as the top-line center and Drew O’Connor as the third pivot. Or second, if you count the order of line rushes in pregame warmup.
The Penguins also hit a few posts, including Rodrigues, who rang the far post loudly.
“I mean, obviously, it would have been a big goal for us from a momentum standpoint. I thought the second half of the period–in the first period and the second period, we had pretty good momentum,” said Sullivan. “So that would’ve been that would have been a big goal for us.”
The Pittsburgh Penguins suffered their first regulation loss of the season, 5-1, to the Tampa Bay Lightning Tuesday at PPG Paints Arena.
“We were talking the linesman by the bench, and the explanation was that he blew the whistle and (McGinn) touched the puck,” Penguins center Teddy Blueger said. “If the puck would have kept rolling in the net and that no one touched it, it would have been called a goal…”