Wrong place, wrong time.
Referee Tim Peel was positioned deep in the Panthers zone. He didn’t realize he was in the line of fire.
Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo fired the puck into the corner, hitting referee Tim Peel. Peel was sent backwards into the boards while the puck went into the net, beating Florida goaltender Roberto Luongo.
“I kind of double-clutched it, so I changed my angle,” said Bortuzzo. “I caught [Peel] and I felt bad, to be honest. I heard the horn and was shocked it went in. Super bizarre play.”
“I didn’t know the rule so I put my hands in the air,” Bortuzzo added. “I don’t think a lot of people knew the rule.”
NHL Rule 85.4 covers it.
85.4 Puck Striking Official – If a goal is scored as a result of being deflected directly into the net off an official, the goal shall not be allowed.
Rule 75.8 also mentions scoring off the ref.
78.5 Disallowed Goals – Apparent goals shall be disallowed by the Referee and the appropriate announcement made by the Public Address Announcer for the following reasons:
(iii) When the puck has deflected directly into the net off an official.
One part that’s not in the rulebook is that the ‘directly’ into the net portion can still include hitting the goaltender. From a practical standpoint, it’s a good goal if it bounces off – or is played by – a skater.
The play is also eligible for video review under Rule 38.4. No review was needed in this case, as the play – strange as it may have been – was quite clear, at least to most. Roberto Luongo had a tougher time figuring out what happened.
“It went toward the glass, so I was waiting to see where it hit,” Luongo told The Athletic. “It hit [the referee] in the body and he’s in black, so I didn’t see the puck until the last second. … I thought I knew the rule, that it was no goal, but you never know.”
Peel left the ice for evaluation, leaving referee Furman South to announce the ‘no goal’ call and officiate the game as the lone referee alongside linesmen Ryan Galloway and Derek Nansen. Peel later returned to the game.
“I asked him if he was okay. Maybe I’ll buy him a dinner or something,” Bortuzzo said. “He’s a good guy and [we’ve] always had a good relationship.”
Here’s hoping Peel hung on to the puck. First career NHL goal — even if it didn’t count.