A goal from Florida Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau was confirmed after the New Jersey Devils challenged for offside.

Huberdeau scored at 4:25 of the second period to give the Panthers a 3-1 lead.  Winger Anthony Duclair sent the puck across the ice but behind Huberdeau as he crossed the blueline. The Panthers forward gathered the puck and fired it past netminder Mackenzie Blackwood.



The Devils challenged the goal. Huberdeau was clearly into the attacking zone ahead of the puck… but that doesn’t necessarily mean he was offside.

A player is allowed to precede the puck into the attacking zone, as Huberdeau did, as long as he has the puck.

A player actually controlling the puck who shall cross the line ahead of the puck shall not be considered “off-side,” provided he had possession and control of the puck prior to his skates crossing the leading edge of the blue line.

Linesmen Mitch Hunt and James Tobias reviewed the play with the Situation Room.  After review, the league confirmed the call on the ice.

Huberdeau was onside.  The goal would stand.

The rationale behind the ruling comes down to possession and control of the puck.

The NHL rulebook defines both:

Control: The act of propelling the puck with the stick, hand or feet. Control of the puck is not lost when contact with the puck is made by an opponent, the boards or the
net, provided the player in control of the puck continues propelling the puck.

Possession: The last player to physically touch the  puck with his stick or body shall be considered in possession of the puck.

A player can have possession of the puck without control, but he cannot have control of the puck without possession

Huberdeau appeared to make contact with the puck with one skate still on the blue line, granting him possession. Though the puck did not remain on his stick, he did maintain control as he moved deeper into the attacking zone.

Had the puck deflected off his blade and into the corner, he likely would not have been determined to have maintained possession.  Of course, he also likely wouldn’t have scored on the play.


New Jersey killed off the resulting Delay of Game penalty for a failed Coach’s Challenge.  Devils head coach Lindy Ruff fell to 1-3 on challenges this season.

Florida went on to win the game 4-1.

Referees for the game were Wes McCauley and Tom Chmielewski.  Linesmen were James Tobias and Mitch Hunt.