New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was frustrated when play continued after a collision with his own player. With no whistle coming, Lundqvist took it upon himself to bring the game to a halt.
He flipped the net.
Lundqvist was given a minor penalty for delay of game. Rule 63.2 states:
A minor penalty shall be imposed on any player who delays the game by deliberately displacing a goal post from its normal position.
Lundqvist’s timing couldn’t have been better.
Had the Penguins player been on a breakaway, intentionally bumping the net would’ve given Pittsburgh a penalty shot.
63.5 Penalty Shot – If the goal post is deliberately displaced by a goalkeeper or player during the course of a “breakaway,” a penalty shot will be awarded to the non-offending team, which shot shall be taken by the player last in possession of the puck.
If the Penguins player had already fired the puck on target, it may have even been an automatic goal.
63.6 Awarded Goal – In the event that the goal post is displaced, either deliberately or accidentally, by a defending player, prior to the puck crossing the goal line between the normal position of the goalposts, the Referee may award a goal.
In order to award a goal in this situation, the goal post must have been displaced by the actions of a defending player, the puck must have been shot (or the player must be in the act of shooting) at the goal prior to the goal post being displaced, and it must be determined that the puck would have entered the net between the normal position of the goal posts.
“I think he was trying to tell the referee he was hurt, and I don’t know if the signals [got crossed] or whatever, but obviously, the referee didn’t pick up on it,” said Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault. “Nobody knew. And I don’t think Hank made it very clear to the referee at that time.”
He certainly did when the net went flying.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen him that mad,” said New York’s Derek Stepan. “He felt he had a case.”
Lundqvist isn’t the first goaltender to resort to extreme measures to stop play.
AHL goaltender Mike Leggio used the same technique back in 2014 to thwart a 2-on-0 breakaway. The AHL promptly modified the rules to prevent future occurrences. Goaltenders who intentionally dislodge the net on a breakaway are now given a game misconduct, with the opposing team also receiving a penalty shot.
Earlier this year, Charlotte Checkers goaltender Daniel Altshuller was a bit more subtle. With one of his teammates down on the ice and out of the play, Altshuller bumped the net off before the puck entered the zone. This play went undetected by the officials.