The Tampa Bay Lightning opened the scoring in Game 4 by putting the puck past a helmetless Darcy Kuemper.
The Avalanche goaltender took a puck to the mask, knocking his helmet off. The rebound went right to Tampa’s Anthony Cirelli, who scored on the rebound.
Why didn’t the refs blow the whistle?
It’s the right call. The rule says to play on when there’s a scoring chance.
Here’s rule 9.6:
When a goalkeeper has lost his helmet and/or face mask and his team has control of the puck, play shall be stopped immediately to allow the goalkeeper the opportunity to regain his helmet and/or face mask.
When the opposing team has control of the puck, play shall only be stopped if there is no immediate and impending scoring opportunity. This stoppage of play must be made by the Referee.
The Lightning had the puck in deep. Scoring chances don’t get more imminent that that one, with Anthony Cirelli putting the puck in the net moments later.
Had the puck cleared the zone: whistle.
Had the Avs gained control and possession: whistle.
Instead, the Lightning capitalized on that scoring opportunity and took a 1-0 lead.
For every Avs fan out there saying Cirelli somehow hooked Kuemper's mask off. You're wrong.
The vibration from the shot blew the straps off the buckles. When Kuemper quickly moved his head, the mask fell forward.
It happened to me countless times. Watch the replay.
— Mike McKenna (@MikeMcKenna56) June 23, 2022
Referees for the game were Wes McCauley (#4) and Kelly Sutherland (#11); linesmen were Steve Barton (#59) and Kiel Murchison (#79).