In Thursday night’s game between the Nashville Predators and St. Louis Blues, a displaced net led to an offensive zone faceoff that ultimately resulted in a game-winning goal for the Blues.
Preds winger James Neal tried to cut between defensemen Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester. Neal and Bouwmeester made contact, with Neal crashing into the Blues goal cage with 6:09 to play in the third. Neal avoided St. Louis goaltender Jake Allen but knocked the net off its pegs.
Since St. Louis recovered the puck, play continued. When the Predators finally touched the puck, the whistle blew for the displaced net. This was all textbook. So was the faceoff location.
While some Predators fans weren’t happy to have a draw in front of their own net, that’s the right spot. The faceoff location is not determined by the infraction but by where play is stopped. Since goaltender Pekka Rinne was the first Preds player to touch the puck, the draw was taken in Nashville’s defensive zone.
From the NHL Rulebook:
Rule 63 – Delaying the Game
When the net is accidentally displaced by an attacking player, and the defending side is in control of the puck and moving out of their zone, play shall be permitted to continue until such time as the non-offending team loses control of the puck.
The resulting face-off will take place at a face-off spot in the zone nearest the location where the play was stopped, unless it is in the non-offending team’s defending zone, and as such the ensuing face-off would be outside the blue line at one of the face-off spots in the neutral zone.
Unfortunately for Nashville, Blues center Paul Stastny won the offensive zone draw cleanly. Two passes and one deflected shot later, the Blues took a 4-3 lead.
Now, if you want to argue an interference call on the Blues defense for making contact with Neal, you’ll have to take that up with referee Graham Skilliter, who watched the whole exchange. For the record, rule 56.2 states, ‘A minor penalty shall be imposed on a player who interferes with or impedes the progress of an opponent who is not in possession of the puck.’ Was it incidental or was it interference? Your call.
Thanks to @myregularface/GIFGoldmine.com for the GIF.