Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly appeared to score Friday against the Calgary Flames, aside from one minor detail: the puck never crossed the goal line.
The NHL’s Situation Room reviews all plays at the net to determine whether the puck crosses the line. If they’re able to determine that a goal was scored, they’ll call down to sound the horn to stop play. If they’re still reviewing the play, they’ll hold play at the next stoppage until they can make a determination on the goal.
In this case, the two teams played on.
The next stoppage came 2:30 later — on a goal by Calgary’s Connor Zary.
While there was no official word from the league, it’s clear that they must have had evidence – likely via the overhead camera not available on the broadcast – that the puck never crossed the line.
But if it had…?
Two goals can’t be scored during the same stoppage. If Rielly’s initial shot goes in, that wipes out everything that happened after, including the Flames’ game-tying goal. From Rule 37.2:
Only one goal can be awarded at any stoppage of play. If an apparent goal was scored by Team A, and is subsequently confirmed as a goal by the NHL Situation Room, any goal scored by Team B during the period of time between the apparent goal by Team A and the stoppage of play (Team B’s goal), the Team B goal would not be awarded.
If the apparent goal by Team A is deemed to have entered the goal illegally (e.g., a “distinct kicking motion”), the goal will be disallowed by the NHL Situation Room; no goal will be awarded to Team B either in this circumstance since the play should have been stopped at the time of the apparent goal. The clock (including penalty time clocks, if applicable) shall be re-set to the time of Team A’s apparent goal – whether awarded or disallowed.
Any penalties signaled during the period of time between the apparent goal and the next stoppage of play shall be assessed in the normal manner, except when a minor penalty is to be assessed to the team scored upon, and is therefore nullified by the scoring of the goal.
If Rielly’s shot goes in, the clock gets wound back to 15:30 and the Leafs lead 2-0. The Flames’ goal gets wiped out completely.
But it didn’t.
Look at it again, and you’ll see the shot hit the post and go across the front of the goal. The net movement is caused by the butt end of the goaltender’s stick hitting the outside of the net.
Referees for the game were Chris Lee (#28) and Kevin Pollock (#33), with Brandon Gawryletz (#64) and Ryan Galloway (#82) on lines.