The Pittsburgh Penguins though they’d scored the go-ahead goal in the first period against the Tampa Bay Lighting.

They beat goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy.  They didn’t beat the whistle.

Pens winger Brock McGinn fired a shot that deflected off the goalie’s shoulder and into the crease. McGinn swept the loose puck over the line only to have his goal waved off by referee Conor O’Donnell.



The play is not eligible for video review, nor coach’s challenge.

“The referee came over [the the bench] and said he made a mistake. He lost sight of the puck. He was on the backside of the goaltender…  He didn’t see it. It was a quick whistle,” said Pittsburgh head coach Mike Sullivan. “I was appreciative of his honesty; that’s hockey. There’s a human element sometimes to it. Obviously, it would’ve been a big goal for us from a momentum standpoint.”

The momentum swing was even greater, as McGinn picked up a minor penalty for high sticking on the play.

From Rule 78.5:

Apparent goals shall be disallowed by the Referee and the appropriate announcement made by the Public Address Announcer for the following reasons:  […]  (xii) When the Referee deems the play has been stopped, even if he had not physically had the opportunity to stop play by blowing his whistle.

Rule 31.2 provides more information.

As there is a human factor involved in blowing the whistle to stop play, the Referee may deem the play to be stopped slightly prior to the whistle actually being blown. The fact that the puck may come loose or cross the goal line prior to the sound of the whistle has no bearing if the Referee has ruled that the play had been stopped prior to this happening.

Tampa went on to win the game 5-1.

Officials were referees Conor O’Donnell and Marc Joannette, with linesmen Kilian McNamara and David Brisebois.