The New York Islanders defeated the Buffalo Sabres on a game-winning goal that required Situation Room review after deflecting in off the leg of Hudson Fasching.

Fasching’s goal came midway through the third period of Tuesday’s game with the score tied 2-2.  A shot from Josh Bailey deflected off Fasching’s knee just outside the crease and beat Sabres goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen. Referee Chris Rooney immediately waved off the goal.

The NHL’s Situation Room wanted a second look.



After review, the call on the ice was overturned.  Fasching was awarded the goal, giving the Isles a 3-2 lead.

The NHL’s official ruling from the Situation Room didn’t exactly provide a wealth of information to justfy the overturned call:

Video review determined that the puck deflected off New York’s Hudson Fasching and into the net in legal fashion.

Let’s look at the rules in play.

Rule 37.4 defines a ‘distinct kicking motion‘ video review as “one where the video makes clear that an attacking Player has deliberately propelled the puck with a kick of his foot or skate and the puck subsequently enters the net.”

Rule 49.2 covers kicked-in goals:

A goal cannot be scored by an attacking player who uses a distinct kicking motion to propel the puck into the net with his skate/foot. A goal cannot be scored by an attacking player who kicks a puck that deflects into the net off any player, goalkeeper or official.

A puck that deflects into the net off an attacking player’s skate who does not use a distinct kicking motion is a legitimate goal. A puck that is directed into the net by an attacking player’s skate shall be a legitimate goal as long as no distinct kicking motion is evident.  … 

A goal will be allowed when a puck enters the goal after deflecting off an attacking player’s skate or deflects off his skate while he is in the process of stopping.

Rule 49.2 clearly requires the puck going off a foot or skate – which it clearly didn’t – thus negating the kicking rule entirely.   However, let’s keep going.

Fasching extends his left leg. For argument’s sake, we’ll say he did so intentionally to make contact with the puck and not as part of a stopping motion.  It is legal to deflect a puck into the goal even if you intentionally move your body to do so.

He moves his skate, angling his leg to deflect the puck. His shin does not propel the puck; it does not add momentum, making this a redirection – and therefore a legal goal under the Situation Room’s interpretation of the play.

See the previous ‘good goal’ ruling off the skate of Calgary’s Andrew Mangiapane vs. the New York Rangers.

Rule 78
covers goals.

If an attacking player has the puck deflect into the net, off his skate or body, in any manner, the goal shall be allowed. The player who deflected the puck shall be credited with the goal.

A goal cannot be scored when the puck has been deliberately batted with any part of the attacking player’s body into the net.

There’s no question Fasching redirected the puck into the net. Even with moving his leg, the motion fell short of batting the puck or kicking it in.

Of course, if the boys in the Room felt that his leg movement was part of a stopping motion, then the whole thing is legal and teh entire discussion is moot.


The Situation Room later clarified their ruling to the Buffalo News:

“It was ruled a deflection off Hudson Fasching’s shin pad and, therefore, it was determined there was no distinct kicking motion.”

Fasching was asked after the game if he thought it should count.

“I’m always thinking it’s a goal,” Fasching said after the game. “Obviously, I’m always rooting it for to be a goal. I didn’t think I kicked it, but it’s the officials’ call. Glad they got it right.”

Buffalo Sabres head coach Don Granato wasn’t quite sure what happened.

“It’s shocking. I don’t know how to explain it, I didn’t get an explanation,” Buffalo coach Don Granato told the Buffalo News. “I don’t have an explanation for it. I’ve not seen that happen.”

Fasching, in his first season with the Islanders, has scored four goals and six assists in 33 games. He previously suited up for the Buffalo Sabres and Arizona Coyotes.
The winger doesn’t recall ever scoring a goal off his knee, let alone one as important as Tuesday’s game-winner.

“I don’t think so,” Fasching said. “Honestly, it’s hard to remember back… but I’ll take it.”


Referees for the game were Chris Rooney (#5) and Pierre Lambert (#37), with linesmen Brandon Gawryletz (#64) and Dan Kelly (#98).