The New York Rangers’ potential game-tying goal was disallowed after a slow whistle and a lengthy review in Sunday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. 

The shot from Rangers’ rookie Will Cuylle was trapped along the post by Columbus goaltender Elvis Merzlikins. Cuylle pointed at the goal line, indicating that the puck was in; Rangers’ center Nick Bonino also appeared to spot the puck over the line. The teams played on, with Kaapo Kakko taking a whack at the puck before the whistle finally sounded.

At the end of the sequence, the puck was clearly over the line.  It was there prior to the whistle. 



Our first thought was Rule 31.2, the dreaded ‘intent to blow’ call:

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.

Referees Kevin Pollock and Brandon Blandina reviewed the play for over seven minutes before Pollock stepped up to the mic. 

“After video review, the initial shot was not in,” announced Pollock. “The play was frozen. We have no goal.”

The league put out the official ruling a bit later. From the NHL’s Situation Room:

The Referees initiated a video review to further examine whether Will Cuylle’s original shot entered the Columbus net. Video determined that Cuylle’s original shot did not cross the Columbus goal line.

Based on that, here’s how we think it went down.

  • There was no ‘goal’ call on the ice, so the league needed conclusive evidence of a goal.
  • The puck was eventually over the line, but only after Kakko’s push, which could have been within the ‘intent to blow’ window. 
  • With that, the only consideration was whether the initial shot from Cuylle went in.  Without conclusive evidence that the puck was in at that time, they couldn’t award a goal.

Ah, if only we could use puck tracking for plays like this… 


The Rangers would eventually get that game-tying goal, en route to a 4-3 shootout win. Referees were Kevin Pollock (#33) and Brandon Blandina (#39) with Travis Gawryletz (#67) and Matt MacPherson (#83) on lines.