The Florida Panthers thought they’d opened the scoring in the first minute of Monday night’s game against the Bruins.  The puck may have beaten goaltender Linus Ullmark. It may have beaten the ref’s whistle.  But it didn’t beat his intent.

Rule 31.2 covers the timing of the whistle and intent to blow:

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.

From Rule 78.5 (xii):

Apparent goals shall be disallowed by the Referee … 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.

This looks like the right call. Ullmark stopped and covered the puck, prior to being bowled over by sliding Bruins defenseman Hampus Lindholm. The puck crossed the goal line as a result of the collision.

Intent to blow is not eligible for video review, nor for a coach’s challenge.

Here’s the official word from the NHL:

The Referee informed the Situation Room that he was in the process of blowing his whistle to stop play before the two Boston players collided into the net.

The Panthers’ no-goal was a far different situation from the Flames’ awarded goal on a continuous play against the Toronto Maple Leafs, where the whistle sounded but was ruled not to have had an impact on the play itself.


Referees were Kendrick Nicholson (#30) and Furman South (#13). Linesmen were Jonathan Deschamps (#80) and James Tobias (#61).