New York Islanders’ forward Josh Bailey opened the scoring in Tuesday’s Game 5, on a goal that stood up after the Philadelphia Flyers challenged for goaltender interference.

The goal came with New York’s Matt Barzal clearly in the blue paint after being pushed in by Flyers forward Tyler Pitlick.  Defenseman Ivan Provorov also ended up in the crease as Pitlick crashed into the net.  Bailey’s shot deflected off the pile of bodies to open the scoring.

Philadelphia Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault challenged the goal.




There’s no question the pile-up in the crease impacted goaltender Carter Hart’s ability to make a save. The question was as to who was in the way and how they got there.

Here’s the rulebook on goaltender interference:

69.1 Interference on the Goalkeeper – This rule is based on the premise that an attacking player’s position, whether inside or outside the crease, should not, by itself, determine whether a goal should be allowed or disallowed. In other words, goals scored while attacking players are standing in the crease may, in appropriate circumstances be allowed.

Goals should be disallowed only if: (1) an attacking player, either by his positioning or by contact, impairs the goalkeeper’s ability to move freely within his crease or defend his goal; or (2) an attacking player initiates intentional or deliberate contact with a goalkeeper, inside or outside of his goal crease.

If an attacking player has been pushed, shoved, or fouled by a defending player so as to cause him to come into contact with the goalkeeper, such contact will not be deemed contact initiated by the attacking player for purposes of this rule, provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact.

In this case, referees Chris Lee and Francis Charron felt that Barzal was pushed in.  Their call on the ice was supported by the decision of the NHL’s Situation Room following video review.

Video review confirmed the actions of Philadelphia’s Tyler Pitlick caused Mathew Barzal to contact goaltender Carter Hart in the crease prior to Josh Bailey’s goal. The decision was made in accordance with Note 2 of Rule 38.11 (ii) which states, in part, that the goal should be allowed because “the attacking Player was pushed, shoved or fouled by the defending Player causing the attacking Player to come into contact with the goalkeeper.”

Philadelphia was given a bench minor for delay of game as a result of the failed challenge. New York failed to score on the resulting man advantage.

The Islanders later rallied to tie, coming back from a 3-1 deficit.

Philadelphia won the game 4-3 in overtime to force Game 6.


The Flyers were 0-for-1 on goaltender interference challenges in the regular season. This was their first challenge for interference in the playoffs.