Dallas Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin got away with one Sunday.
Khudobin let go of his stick on an apparent poke check in an attempt to stop a penalty shot from Vancouver’s Elias Pettersson. According to Rule 24.4., that’s an automatic goal.
The goalkeeper may attempt to stop the shot in any manner except by throwing his stick or any object, or by deliberately dislodging the goal, in which case a goal shall be awarded.
Neither referee – both positioned on or below the goal line – whistled the play for a violation. Pettersson failed to score on the attempt.
Vancouver Canucks head coach Travis Green was asked after the game about whether he believed it looked like Khudobin threw his stick.
“It didn’t look like it,” said Canucks head coach Travis Green. “He did throw it.”
The play was not reviewed. Some fans charged that the Canucks bench should have challenged the play, but Coach’s Challenges may only be made for goaltender interference or offside, neither of which applied to this play.
“I didn’t get an explanation,” said Pettersson. “I thought he made a clean poke check but in the replay it looks like he threw the stick at the puck. It is what it is. We won the game.”
Vancouver, leading 2-0 at the time, did manage to claim an overtime victory. The Stars, though, picked up a much-needed point in the tightly-contested Western Conference standings, in part to the non-call.
Western Conference Playoff Race (Games Ending 3/17/19)#nhlplayoffrace pic.twitter.com/KotQpQ6fL2
— Damian Echevarrieta (@Ech28) March 18, 2019
Dallas head coach Jim Montgomery wasn’t worried that his netminder’s gaffe may have resulted in an awarded goal.
“When I watched it live,” Montgomery told The Athletic, “[assistant coach] Stu [Barnes] said something about it, but it didn’t look like there was any intent. It looked like he lost it at the last second.”
The NHL’s ruling appeared to align with Montgomery’s assessment, per Jeff Paterson on Twitter:
On-ice officials felt this was a hockey play and that Khudobin was attempting a normal poke check and lost control of his stick.
For Hockey Ops to have overruled that, they would have had to determine conclusively that Khudobin did not lose control and fully intended to throw his stick. They could not.
[The] Rangers play [on Ovechkin] was different and more clear.
Interesting to hear ‘intent’ as a factor when, typically, it’s all about the action/outcome. See also: puck over glass, certain illegal hits.
Just two weeks prior, a goal was awarded to Washington’s Alexander Ovechkin after New York Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev threw his stick to stop a shootout attempt. As with Sunday’s game, no call was made on the ice. The NHL’s Toronto-based Situation Room sounded the goal horn to signal a review.
The referees for Sunday’s game between the Dallas Stars and Vancouver Canucks were Tim Peel and Justin St. Pierre. Linesmen were Brandon Gawryletz and Brad Kovachik.