No net? No problem! Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Mark Giordano scored a goal on a dislodged net against the Buffalo Sabres.

Giordano’s goal came late in the first period of Saturday’s game. Toronto’s Mitch Marner took the puck away and headed in on a shorthanded breakaway, with Giordano trailing.

Buffalo’s Alex Tuch, hustling on the backcheck, fell to the ice, crashing into his goaltender and taking out the net. Giordano’s shot slid through the crease and across the goal line, well after the net had been bumped off its pegs.



Referee Garrett Rank initially ruled no goal.

“There is no goal on the play,” announced Rank. “Buffalo. Number 89 has a minor penalty for delay of game.”

The NHL, though, took a second look.  This is a league-initiated review; the play would not be eligible for a coach’s challenge.

After a quick review, Toronto was awarded the goal.

“After video review, there was an imminent scoring opportunity. The puck crossed the goal line between the normal spot of the posts.  We have a good goal. No penalty.”

Here’s NHL 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 precisely what happened.

“It was kind of a weird one, but I knew the rule — I knew that if the puck was still going in, they could still count it,” Giordano said after the game. “I was hoping and praying that they were going to count it and thankfully, they did.”

Giordano apparently has retired NHL referee Kerry Fraser to thank for the rule that allowed that goal to stand.

The Leafs went on to win the game 5-3. Giordano’s goal was the game-winner.

Referees for the game were Garrett Rank (#7) and Brian Pochmara (#16), with linesmen Devin Berg (#87) and Kyle Flemington (#55).