The Columbus Blue Jackets scored their lone goal of Thursday’s 4-1 loss against the Bruins on a puck that was played off the netting.

Down 2-0 at home, the Blue Jackets were desperate for a lucky bounce to kickstart their offense.  That bounce came off the spectator netting above the glass.



Seth Jones’ shot from the point deflected off Blue Jackets forward Oliver Bjorkstrand and over the glass, into the netting.   Play continued, with the puck dropping back down to the ice along the goal line.

Bjorkstrand recovered it and sent a pass across the slot to Artemi Panarin, who fired it past Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask to cut the Boston lead to 2-1.

The play was not eligible for review, nor was it able to be challenged; coach’s challenges are limited to offside plays and goaltender interference.

“In this day and age, I think it’s crazy. If the refs don’t see it, I think the league can call [to advise that the puck went out of bounds].  They’re watching the game, right?  What if that’s in overtime? It didn’t cost us, but I think it’s just funny that they can look at a lot of other kinds of goals and call them back from the [NHL] offices, so why not that?”

“It was a high blocker shot. I think it hit somebody and then there was like a five second pause. I’m thinking it’s got to be out of bounds. Next thing I see, it’s on the left side and I start scrambling and then it’s in the net.  Just a weird few seconds there.

“I didn’t know what happened.  I didn’t see it hit the net. If I saw it then I probably would have slammed the stick and started chasing the refs. Probably better that I didn’t see it.”

Boston Bruins Goaltender Tuukka Rask

Rask stopped all 39 other shots he faced for a 4-1 win that evened the series at 2-2.

Rule 85.1 deals with the puck going out of bounds:

If the puck striking the spectator netting goes unnoticed by the on-ice officials, play shall continue as normal and resulting play with the puck shall be deemed a legitimate play. Players must not stop playing the game until they hear the whistle to do so.


Video review of those situations is covered in 38.4 (ix):

(ix) The video review process shall be permitted to assist the Referees in determining the legitimacy of all potential goals (e.g. to ensure they are “good hockey goals”). For example (but not limited to) … pucks that hit the spectator netting prior to being directed immediately into the goal …

NOTE: For pucks that hit the spectator netting undetected by the On-Ice Officials, “immediately” shall mean the following:

a) When the puck strikes the spectator netting and deflects directly into the goal off of any player;

b) When the puck strikes the spectator netting and falls to the ice and is then directed into the goal by the player who retrieves the puck.

In both of the above scenarios, the NHL Situation Room must have definitive video evidence of the puck striking the netting in order to disallow the goal.

Simply put, the on-ice officials missed it, and they weren’t able to review it.

The rule book does not allow for the use of video replay in this situation.   If Bjorkstrand had played the puck off the netting and shot it directly in, the league would have been able to review the play — and overturn the goal, provided they had sufficient video evidence of the puck striking the netting.

Bjorkstrand’s pass to Panarin nullified the ‘netting review’ and caused this to be a legal goal.

Referees for the game were Chris Rooney and Gord Dwyer.  Linesmen were Michel Cormier and Brian Murphy.

As crazy as it is, this isn’t the first time a puck in the netting has led to a Blue Jackets goal against the Bruins.  Back in 2014, the officials missed that the puck was deflected up into the netting. It returned to the ice and the two teams played on without a stoppage in play until Matt Calvert scored for Columbus 85 seconds later.

“They’re just going to turn their backs on it and pretend it’s alright,” said Bruins announced Jack Edwards after the 2014 goal.  “Start the calliope music. It’s a circus!”