PITTSBURGH — It might have been the Rangers’ biggest goal of 2015-16 — so far, at least. But Derick Brassard thought it might be taken away from him.
“I was like, ‘Oh, man, it’s going to be [bad] karma here,’ ” he said Saturday after the Rangers’ 4-2 victory over the Penguins.
Eighteen seconds after the Rangers had tied the score in Game 2 of the first-round playoff series, Brassard seemed to give them a 2-1 lead with a breakaway goal 12:56 into the second period.
But wait: The Penguins challenged the goal, saying Brassard was offside after receiving a long pass from J.T. Miller. Replays indicated it was a close call, but it was determined that Brassard’s trailing skate did not cross the blue line before the puck did.
“After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL hockey operations staff, the linesman determined that Brassard had possession and control of the puck when he entered the attacking zone prior to the goal,” the league said.
Brassard said the wait for the review was uncomfortably long for him.
“But the refs are the best in the world and they just want to make it right, and the edge of my heel was touching the line,” he said. “That was good.”
He initially was unaware he might have been offside.
“When I saw the ref going in the middle and he said there was a review, I had no idea, but they want to make it right,” he said.
Brassard had the goal and two assists, was credited with seven hits and was on the ice for all four Rangers goals. Linemate Miller had three assists.
Not a bad response after coach Alain Vigneault had said he needed more than what he got from his top lines in a 5-2 loss in Game 1. He also tweaked those lines, replacing Mats Zuccarello with Rick Nash alongside Brassard and Miller.
“AV doesn’t have to tell us,” Brassard said. “We all know the way we can play as players, and I don’t think every guy in this room, or the top guys, played a bad game in Game 1.
“But we were just OK. We know the last two years if you’re just OK, you’re not going to pass. It’s not going to cut it.”