By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Just prior to the Blue Jackets scoring their first goal of Game 4, seemingly every player in a white jersey stopped playing for just a brief second. They might have had good reason.
Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask made a blocker save on a redirected shot, sending the puck high over his shoulder and toward the end boards. It appeared the puck cleared the glass behind the net and made contact with the protective netting.
The Blue Jackets ended up gathering the puck, with Oliver Bjorkstrand feeding an uncovered Artemi Panarin, who scored easily from the bottom of the left faceoff circle to cut Boston’s lead to 2-1.
Replays showed that the puck did indeed make contact with the protective netting, but unfortunately for the Bruins, the two referees and two linesmen didn’t see it, and such a play is not subject to being challenged.
Interestingly enough, the same situation cost the Bruins a goal back during the 2014-15 season in Columbus. That goal led to a memorable rant from NESN play-by-play announcer Jack Edwards. The Red Wings also scored a goal against the Kings in the previous season that involved the puck bouncing off the netting and into the goal.
NHL rules state that such a play can only be reviewed if the puck goes directly into the net after hitting the protective netting. If time elapses from the time the puck hit the netting to the time a goal is scored, it is not subject to review. As the NHL’s statement explained, the language in the rules states that the puck must deflect “directly” into the goal or be scored by the player who retrieves the puck after the contact with the netting.
Of course, the fact that a goal can be challenged and overturned because a player’s skate blade was a centimeter offside on a zone entry that came 86 seconds before a goal is scored would seem to suggest that a play such as this one should likewise be subject to review. But the NHL rulebook has its quirks, and this would certainly qualify as one of them.
“In this day and age I think it’s crazy that, you know, if the refs don’t see it, why the league can’t call … I mean, they’re watching the game, right?” Rask told reporters. “I mean, what if that’s in overtime, you know? It didn’t cost us, but I think it’s just funny that they can look at a lot of other goals going back and calling back, so why not that?”
Rask, who made 39 saves in the victory, was able to joke about the moment when speaking with reporters.
“Well I didn’t know what happened. I didn’t see it hit the net,” Rask said. “I mean, if I saw it then I would have probably slammed some sticks and chased the refs. So it was probably better that I didn’t see.”
The Blue Jackets entered Game 4 with a 2-1 series lead. Panarin’s goal — his third of the series — cut the Bruins’ lead to 2-1 in Game 4.
The Bruins went on to win the game, 4-1.