A few officials have been caught in the line of fire this season, with opportunistic teams quickly converting those unexpected puck bounces to goals.
The Toronto Maple Leafs jumped on a loose puck after Montreal Canadiens winger Jonathan Drouin tried to move the puck behind the net, hitting referee Kendrick Nicholson. Center William Nylander recovered the puck and made a quick centering pass to Jimmy Vesey, who scored his first goal as a Leaf. Vesey’s marker tied the game at 4-4, en route to a Maple Leafs OT win.
The New York Islanders also took advantage when Rangers defenseman Jack Johnson fired the puck into linesman Matt MacPherson. The puck bounced straight out to center, where Cal Clutterbuck corralled it and moved it up ice. Mat Barzal took the puck and skated into the zone, undressing defenseman Tony DeAngelo before firing a shot past goaltender Igor Shesterkin to put the Isles up 3-0.
Remember, the officials are in play. The puck is not whistled dead after hitting a referee or linesman unless the puck goes directly into the net.
From Rule 85.4:
If a goal is scored as a result of being deflected directly into the net off an official, the goal shall not be allowed.
From Rule 78:
Apparent goals shall be disallowed by the Referee …
(iii) When the puck has deflected directly into the net off an official.
Stay safe out there, stripes! Watch out for those pucks.