The Ducks stunned the Edmonton Oilers in Game 5 with a late rally that led to an overtime win. Anaheim scored three goals in the final 3:16 of play to force the extra session. While Corey Perry’s double-overtime game-winner ended the night, it was Rickard Rakell’s game-tying goal with 15.6 to play that frustrated the Oilers.
Edmonton felt that Anaheim’s Ryan Kesler interfered with goaltender Cam Talbot on the play. Kesler was initially pushed into Talbot by defenseman Darnell Nurse.
Referee Chris Rooney, on top of the play, clearly indicated a goal on the ice.
The NHL Situation Room initiated a review of the play, as they do for all eligible situations in the final minute of regulation and any time in overtime.
Referees Rooney and Francois St. Laurent reviewed the goal on their new, larger-screened iPad Pro.
“After video review, the call on the ice stands,” announced referee Chris Rooney. “There was no goaltender interference.”
The NHL’s explanation stated that “Edmonton’s Darnell Nurse caused Anaheim’s Ryan Kesler to contact Talbot before the puck crossed the goal line.”
Correctly, Rule 78.7 (ii) says that a “goal on the ice should have been allowed because (ii) the attacking Player was pushed, shoved or fouled by a defending Player causing the attacking Player to come into contact with the goalkeeper.”
There’s no question Nurse was responsible the initial contact, by shoving Kesler into Talbot. Once he got there, though, Kesler did not appear to make an effort to leave the crease.
“I couldn’t bring [my leg] back underneath me. There was no way I could do that,” said Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot. “I watched the replay and like he has a chance to get up and almost looks like he kind of even digs in over my pad and makes it look like he’s just holding on so I don’t know. The only thing I got to see was the jumbotron replay so maybe they have another angle. I don’t know.”
From Rule 69.3:
If, after any contact by a goalkeeper who is attempting to establish position in his goal crease, the attacking player does not immediately vacate his current position in the goal crease (i.e. give ground to the goalkeeper), and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed. In all such cases, whether or not a goal is scored, the attacking player will receive a minor penalty for goalkeeper interference.
Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle felt that it was the initial contact that was the greatest factor in the league’s decision.
“To me, it was more about how our player got there. How did he get to the ice surface? How did he get tangled up with Talbot?” Carlyle told TSN’s Frank Seravalli. “I clearly saw that once he was pushed into the goalie, then it’s a whole different scenario. It’s one of those that you’re holding your breath and hoping they see it the same way.”
After the game, Edmonton’s Milan Lucic commented on the disputed goal.
“I don’t even know what goalie interference is anymore, to be perfectly honest,” said Lucic. “Last game, it goes in blocker side and they bump his blocker. Tonight, they wrap their arm around our goalie’s leg and he can’t get up, and it’s still a goal. If someone knows, call me and tell me.”
“I mean, the guy falls on the goalie and wraps his hand around the goalie’s pad. I don’t even know what goalie interference is anymore to be perfectly honest,” Lucic said. “It’s an absolute joke, especially two really good referees can’t make the right call at the right time, especially when the guy has two, three seconds to get up off the ice and he has his hand wrapped around the goalie’s leg and the goalie can’t get up to make a save and it’s still a goal. It’s unbelievable.”
His coach was equally confused.
“Interference?” asked Edmonton coach Todd McLellan. “You’re asking the wrong guy. I don’t know what interference is any more.”
“Obviously Kesler was pushed in, there’s no doubt about that. But we have a strong belief that he had wrapped his arm around Talbot’s leg. I don’t know what interference is anymore so you’ll have to ask someone else.”
Edmonton forward Connor McDavid called it a ‘mad scramble at the net.’
“[Talbot] didn’t really have a chance to make the save,” said McDavid. “Ultimately, it’s a tough call for the ref to make. He’s deciding the game. It’s tough for him to call.”
Ultimately, the call was Rooney’s. While the Situation Room assists with the video replays, the ruling on a goaltender interference call is left to the on-ice officials.
The Oilers now trail the Ducks 3-2 in their best-of-seven series.
“It’s a shame,” said Milan Lucic, “that we are where we are right now with a call like that.”