Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau battled in front of the Winnipeg net. Fighting off three defenders, he pushed the puck past Jets netminder Ondrej Pavelec to tie the game. Or so he thought.
Referee Paul Devorski felt otherwise.
The veteran official lost sight of the puck. Despite confirmation from the NHL’s war room that it was a good goal, Devorski waved it off, citing his ‘intent to blow’ the whistle on the play.
Pavelec never had control of the puck. It was never covered. Devorski had no business intending to blow the play dead.
Kerry Fraser once suggested that referees put themselves in a poor location to watch the play by skating behind the goal line. His feeling was that they would be less likely to lose sight of the puck – and therefore less likely to incorrectly stop play – if they remained above the goal line, watching the net.
In this case, that would’ve made a huge difference, as the goal would likely have counted.
Jonathan Huberdeau knocks the puck in BUT the officials look at it and rule that he also pushed the goalie in. No goal, still 1-0 #NHLJets.
— Drew Goldfarb (@DrewGoldfarb) December 6, 2013
Here’s the official ruling from the NHL:
At 6:58 of the first period in the Jets/Panthers game, the Toronto situation room initiated a video review because the puck crossed the Jets goal line. The referee ruled on the ice that he had whistled the play dead prior to the puck crossing the goal line. No goal Florida.
While Huberdeau was kept off the scoresheet, his teammates quickly picked up the slack. Erik Gudbranson scored less than a minute later to tie the game, en route to a 5-2 Panthers victory.