It’s been an interesting month, with a pair of goals scored while the net was off its moorings.  The latest comes via the Washington Capitals.

Caps forward TJ Oshie fired the puck past a sprawling Anders Nilsson, who knocked the net off with his right skate.

Here’s the play, followed by another legendary announcement from referee Wes McCauley.


McCauley, with assistance from the NHL’s Situation Room, reviewed the play alongside referee Ian Walsh.

“The Washington player shot the puck into the net as the goalie knocked the net off, the puck crossed the goal line,” announced McCauley. “We have a goal.”

The broadcast team claimed that the puck must be across the line before the net comes off. That’s not exactly true. The NHL rulebook does allow for a goal to count as long as the puck has been shot or is being shot before the net comes off, provided the puck would have entered the net in its proper location.

From Rule 63.6:

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.

The goal frame is considered to be displaced if either or both goal pegs are no longer in their respective holes in the ice, or the net has come completely off one or both pegs, prior to or as the puck enters the goal.

The specific rule actually came out of an incident – and subsequent rule recommendation – from referee Kerry Frasier, as he relayed via Twitter:

This isn’t the first time this season that the Sens have had a goal scored against them with the net displaced. An Avs goal was waved off in January – again, beating goaltender Anders Nilsson – when Matt Calvert’s goal was disallowed.