Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper was frustrated after a review failed to overturn the Carolina Hurricanes’ overtime game-winner on Monday night.
Carolina’s Phillip Di Giuseppe scored the lone goal of the game 1:26 into the extra session. He beat Bolts goaltender Ben Bishop five-hole just as Viktor Stalberg skated across the top of the crease.
Stalberg’s leg appeared to make contact with Bishop’s stick.
“It’s called incidental contact,’’ Cooper said. “He kicks the stick between Bishop’s legs, and the puck goes right there. He wasn’t given a chance to make the save. He didn’t. I’m blown away.”
“Once they make the call,” Cooper added, “there are no take backs. I’m just mystified. I don’t get it.’”
The goal was immediately reviewed. Any goals scored in the final minute of regulation or any time in overtime are automatically reviewed for the two criteria eligible for Coach’s Challenge: offsides and goaltender interference.
While the call on the ice was confirmed and the goal allowed to stand, the NHL’s official decision didn’t exactly disagree with Cooper’s assessment.
After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Referee confirmed no goaltender interference infractions occurred before the puck crossed the goal line.
The decision was made in accordance with Rule 69.1, which states, in part, that “Incidental contact with a goalkeeper will be permitted, and resulting goals allowed, when such contact is initiated outside of the goal crease,“
Referee Francois St. Laurent, after review, agreed that incidental contact was made. He determined that the contact was outside the goal crease, which would not be considered goaltender interference under Rule 69.1:
Incidental contact with a goalkeeper will be permitted, and resulting goals allowed, when such contact is initiated outside of the goal crease, provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact.
Did Coop have a case? Not according to the NHL rule book, which goes on to add:
The overriding rationale of this rule is that a goalkeeper should have the ability to move freely within his goal crease without being hindered by the actions of an attacking player. If an attacking player enters the goal crease and, by his actions, impairs the goalkeeper’s ability to defend his goal, and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed.
If this contact happens in the crease, we’re looking at no goal.
Outside the blue paint, though, it’s a good goal.