It reads on the NHL’s official play-by-play as a Dustin Byfuglien slap shot from 87 feet out. That doesn’t look good on Tomas Vokoun, who gave up the goal late in the third period of Thursday night’s shootout loss.
But it wasn’t on Vokoun, and even hard to fault defenseman Karl Alzner. With so many around the Washington Capitals unable to really explain the bad bounce, coach Dale Hunter called it “a hockey play.”
“I think he was trying to get out of the way so he wouldn’t tip it,” Hunter said. “It kind of looked like that – quick at the screen and it just deflected and caught him going the wrong way.”
Alzner did appear to get out of the way of the shot, which came only seconds after the Winnipeg Jets got on the board to cut the Caps’ lead in half. It was a good example of bad timing.
“A little bit of a fortunate play that was,” Jets coach Claude Noel said. “I saw the whole thing. It hit the stick. I didn’t realize that it took a little bounce over his pads. We were a little bit fortunate on a play like that but we haven’t had a lot of luck lately, we haven’t been that fortunate. So for us we’ll take that and we’ll run with it.”
Alzner also pushed a Jets player into Vokoun on the previous goal. But teammates said that wasn’t on the 23-year-old, either.
On the deflection when Byfuglien’s shot hit him in no-man’s land above the circles, Alzner wouldn’t have really done anything differently.
“There’s really nothing,” he said. “If I get out of the way earlier than that he just skates in. If I try and block the dump in who knows what happens? Just one of those that caught Vokey trying to stop the dump in so we could turn it up and [he was] a little bit out of the net.”
Maybe Brooks Laich put it best.
“[It] was an absolute fluke,” he said.
Here’s the video of the goal: