It came less than three minutes into the 3rd period; a deflected Brayden McNabb pass was corraled by Tomas Hertl at the blue line. He was able to find Brent Burns who threw a hard centering pass that found Logan Couture. Couture one-timed it into the back of the net. Goal, Sharks. Their fourth straight in the game which gave them their first lead, 5-4.
After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Referee determined that Donskoi prevented Subban from doing his job in his crease. -NHL Situation Room
What really happened? Tommy Cruz.
The video coach Tommy Cruz looks at it. First, he checks for offsides then once he knows it’s an onside play then he is looking if a goal was scored, then he is looking for different options. I think one of the guys came back and said that he was twisting his stick and Tommy told Mike Kelly in the head set that it might be a challenge. We looked at it on the bench and saw it, then we all agreed to challenge it. Tommy Cruz picks it up and he has done a good job for us. -Gerard Gallant
After a goal is scored, Cruz has about 30 seconds to make a decision on whether or not to instruct Gallant to challenge the play. It’s a tough job and one that’s only done well by those with… the need for speed.
Cruz and the Golden Knights have challenged three goals. The first two attempts were unsuccessful (@NYR, @OTT), but the third time probably saved the game for the Golden Knights.
To have it challenged and go out way was a kind of sense of relief. To have those go your way I think sometimes it’s a good sense of karma. –Shea Theodore
Yeah, I just think it’s tough. A lot of it really is just judgment, there’s nothing really black and white. It goes for a lot of things, icings, it’s different every night. It’s a hard call for them and obviously, it can be tough on us, we don’t know. It’s just part of the game. -Brent Burns
We were fortunate, and it turned the game around for us for a little bit. We were on our heels a little bit, and they were coming at us. So, we got a break there. -Gallant
The reversal brought the crowd (or at least the ones wearing grey and gold) back into the game and seemed to spark the Golden Knights a bit. They weren’t able to break the tie until overtime, but the challenge clearly changed the momentum of the game.
Vegas had allowed three straight and a fourth appeared to be on the board. It usually takes a goal, a save, a hit or a fight to get things back rolling when a team is struggling, but for the Golden Knights, who can’t seem to do much wrong nowadays, it was allowing a goal.
That’s only because they have Tommy Cruz though. The 22-year-old video coach who just five years ago got his start working at the Florida Panthers practice facility team store as a sales associate.
Now, Cruz is winning hockey games for the Vegas Golden Knights and probably planning a trip to George McPhee’s office with a quick four-word speech planned… show me the money.