By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Anton Khudobin turned in his best performance of the season on Thursday against the Sharks, but he may have also gotten away with a potentially crucial penalty.
With the Sharks already on the man advantage and just 1:19 left in regulation, Khudobin was under immense pressure as the Sharks pulled goalie Martin Jones and peppered the Bruins netminder with shots. He eventually leaned back on one of the goal posts, which knocked the net off its pegs and stopped play.
Based on NHL rules, it could be argued that the Sharks should have been awarded a penalty shot for the move. The rulebook states that if the goal post is “deliberately displaced” by any player, the offending team is handed a minor penalty – but since there were under two minutes left the penalty could not be served in full, which means that the penalty would instead be a penalty shot.
Judge for yourself (h/t Pro Hockey Talk):
Even if Khudobin did intentionally knock the net off its moorings, it appears that he made it look just accidental enough to avoid the “deliberately displaced” tag. That, or the referees simply missed it. In retrospect, you can chalk it up to some good old-fashioned gamesmanship – but you can also feel for the Sharks, who were knocking on the doorstep at that moment.
One who certainly seems to believe Khudobin intentionally dislodged the net was Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer.
“It looked pretty clear – I didn’t get an explanation why [it wasn’t a penalty shot],” DeBoer told reporters after the game. “So, I didn’t get an explanation for a lot of things tonight. So it didn’t surprise me.”
Khudobin was not asked about the play.
Clearly, a penalty shot would have been a massive moment at the end of the game, which the Bruins won 2-1. But if anything, it proved that you can do what Khudobin did and avoid a penalty if you can do it inconspicuously. The sly move (or was it?) also can’t take away from what was an excellent third period for Tuukka Rask’s backup.
Matt Dolloff is a writer/producer for CBSBostonSports.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, CBS, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.