Ottawa’s Tim Stützle drove hard to the net, hoping to put his team up 3-2 against the Colorado Avalanche. While he wasn’t able to get off a shot, he was awarded a goal after Colorado’s Jack Johnson sent him crashing into the net.
Stützle barreled into goaltender Jonas Johansson, pushing him over the goal line and knocking the net off its moorings — the puck following behind and crossing the goal line moments later.
Referees Garrett Rank and Kendrick Nicholson discussed the play before reviewing it with the NHL’s Situation Room. After a second look, the officials awarded a goal to the Ottawa Senators.
“I think it was the luckiest goal I ever scored,” Stützle said.
What the officials would have first been looking at is how the net became displaced. While it was Stützle’s body that contacted the goalpost, the actions of the defender are what caused that contact.
Next, they looked at where the puck ended up. Did it stay out or did it go in? More importantly, if the net had not been displaced, would the puck have still gone in?
That brings us to Rule 63.7:
“In the event that the goal post is displaced, either deliberately or accidentally, by a defending player, prior to the puck crossing the goal line between the normal position of the goalposts, the Referee may award a goal.
“In order to award a goal in this situation, the goal post must have been displaced by the actions of a defending player, the attacking player must have an imminent scoring opportunity prior to the goal post being displaced, and it must be determined that the puck would have entered the net between the normal position of the goal posts.”
That’s a check on all three of those boxes.
It’s worth noting that the NHL recently made a minor change to this rule, as noted by ESPN Rules Analyst and retired NHL referee Dave Jackson:
Kyle, in ‘21-‘22 rule book, wording in 63.7 has been changed to, “player must have an imminent scoring opportunity “ instead of “act of shooting”. It requires less subjectivity now.
— Dave Jackson (@ESPNRefNHL) December 5, 2021
It’s a goal for Ottawa, who eventually gave up the lead but battled back for a 6-5 overtime win.
Hopefully the Avs – and other teams – will someday stop knocking guys into their own goalies. Someday.