The Blue Jackets were leading 2-1 late in Wednesday night’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs when an empty net presented Columbus with an opportunity to seal the win. The Leafs pressured with an extra attacker, but when a shot wide of the net caromed to center ice, it looked like it would be an easy goal for Blue Jackets forward Cam Atkinson.
Leafs defenseman Dion Phanuef was desperate to stop Atkinson, hooking him on the play. With Atkinson’s puck pursuit slowed significantly, Toronto’s Morgan Rielly was able to make a diving block on Atkinson’s attempt at the empty net.
Phaneuf went off for hooking, but Columbus head coach John Tortorella wanted a goal awarded to the Blue Jackets. Nice try, John, but that’s not quite how it works. Here’s the NHL rule on awarded goals:
25.1 Awarded Goal – A goal will be awarded to the attacking team when the opposing team has taken their goalkeeper off the ice and an attacking player has possession and control of the puck in the neutral or attacking zone, without a defending player between himself and the opposing goal, and he is prevented from scoring as a result of an infraction committed by the defending team.
Rule 57 on Tripping, also cited in 55.6 Holding, includes the following:
57.4 Awarded Goal – If, when the opposing goalkeeper has been removed from the ice, a player in control of the puck (or who could have obtained possession and control of the puck) in the neutral or attacking zone is tripped or otherwise fouled with no opposition between him and the opposing goal, thus preventing a reasonable scoring opportunity, the Referee shall immediately stop play and award a goal to the attacking team.
Unfortunately for Tortorella, not all the requirements were met to have a goal awarded to the Blue Jackets.
Atkinson did not have possession, nor was he about to gain possession, though it is likely he eventually would’ve won the race to the puck. There was also another defender in the play between him and the goal — one who ultimately made a legal, goal-saving defensive dive.
Columbus held on, due in part to the penalty drawn by Atkinson that put the Leafs down a man. Oh, and they eventually got that empty-net goal as well. Brandon Dubinsky scored to make it 3-1 at with 0.9 to play in the third.
Refs for the game were Dean Morton and Marc Joannette. Linesmen were David Brisebois and Mark Shewchyk.