The New York Rangers thought they’d extended their lead to 2-o early in the second period of Sunday night’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes. Defenseman Matt Hunwick’s shot hit the post and bounced off goaltender Anton Khudobin’s back and into the crease… and over the goal line.
Referee Darcy Burchell, positioned right behind the net, waved it off immediately. Then he headed over to put on the headset and discuss it with the NHL’s Situation Room.
The NHL’s official ruling was that the puck never crossed the goal line. But it did.
Referee Dan O’Rourke gave a different explanation to Rangers coach Alain Vigneault, telling him that the whistle blew because of the pile-up in the crease and that the officials intended to blow the play dead as the puck crossed the line.
So did the Situation Room miss the fact that the puck crossed the line?
Based on the explanation, possibly. We’ll have to assume that, for whatever reason, they didn’t have that particular camera angle available. Without it, it’s reasonable to say that it was not a goal because the puck didn’t appear to cross the line from any other angles.
But that doesn’t change the call, just the explanation.
If the Situation Room did have that angle, they would’ve advised referee Darcy Burchell that the puck had crossed the line. He would’ve thanked them and told them that it wouldn’t count anyway since he was waving it off for incidental contact in the crease — something that’s not eligible for review and must be called at ice-level by the referees.
Ultimately, the referees and Toronto didn’t contradict each other. Burchell was always going to blow this one dead, whether or not it crossed the line.