Photo Credit: Gary A. Vasquez / USA Today Sports

Why didn’t Alex Chiasson’s second period goal count?

At 9:47 of the second period of Game 2 between the Calgary Flames and Anaheim Ducks, the Flames appeared to go up 3-2 off a goal-mouth scramble. The Anaheim net came off its moorings, but not before the puck went into the net. Anaheim goalie John Gibson was starfished on the ice trying to make a save. Sam Bennett was also down on the ice near the far post. Alex Chiasson swept the puck between the sprawled out Gibson and Bennett. A lot of stuff was happening at once.

So, off to the video review we went. After a protracted review, the on-ice “no goal” call stood despite the puck clearly crossing the line on the replays. So what gives?

Why it didn’t count

Here’s the NHL’s stance:

At 9:47 of the second period in the Flames/Ducks game, the Situation Room initiated a video review to further examine if the puck crossed the Anaheim goal line before the net became displaced. The referee informed the Situation Room that Anaheim goaltender John Gibson was interfered with before the puck crossed the goal line. This is not a reviewable play and therefore the referee’s call on the ice stands – no goal Calgary.

The review was initiated by the Situation Room in Toronto to determine if the net was off before the puck went in. The referees told Toronto that Gibson had been interfered with. If the reasoning behind the goal originally being disallowed was contact with Gibson in the crease, then the NHL’s own explanation is incorrect because that would be a reviewable (and coach challenge eligible) play.

After the game, the Sportsnet panel noted that John Garrett asked the league between periods if it would have been subject to a coach’s challenge and he was told that it would have been.

The rules

The important rules in this situation are Rule 69 (Interference on the Goalkeeper) and Rule 78.5 (Disallowed Goals).

Rule 69

Rule 78.5

Based on the available replays, the puck crossed the goal line and did so before the net came dislodged. Based on that and the explanation that the NHL cited, the goal would have counted if not for the perceived goalie interference.

The issue here is the way the goalie interference rule is written. The wording puts a lot of the onus on the on-ice officials to judge (a) where contact is initiated, (b) if it impaired the goalie’s ability to play the puck and (c) whether the player making contact with the goaltender could have avoided it. That’s a lot of stuff to judge at once.

A coach’s challenge?

The other issue is the coach’s challenge. In this specific situation, the referees have already judged there to be goalie interference and told Toronto in the review process for the net dislodging that there was interference. A coach’s challenge effectively would have Glen Gulutzan going to the same people that just decided there was goalie interference and saying, “Maybe there wasn’t?”

Here’s the standard for reversing the no-goal call, from the NHL Rulebook:

It probably wouldn’t have been worth risking the timeout, especially in a close game.

In other words

The officials felt that the combination of contact between Gibson and one – or both – of Chiasson and Bennett was enough to impede Gibson’s ability to attempt to make saves. Players are allowed to go into the blue paint to contest loose pucks, but evidently the officials must have felt that the contact in this situation went beyond that.

  • snotss

    are we still being punished for wideman’s stupidity???….nhl playoff officiating is was and still is a joke most nights….that holding the stick call on dougie was proof……….ducks never held a stick for the whole game….right

  • RKD

    The contact by Chiasson was non-incidental, his own motion propelled him forward. He was swiping at the puck the whole time, in way was Gibson prevent from making the save. Any other time that is a goal 9 times out 10. Had Gulutzan challenged he probably would have lost his time out as it would be very unlikely they would have overturned the ruling on the ice knowing the Flames luck.

  • Flamethrower

    What a joke, and no one is laughing. I normally don’t have any comments on the ref’s but last nights game was a travesty.
    A goal that was a goal before any so called interference created basically by Anahiem..why even have vidio replay. Referee made a bad call on ice and was unwilling to change it in order to save face is obvious.
    The timing of these calls and the type of calls really needs to be questioned. This is playoff hockey after all. Blatant calls are ignored on breakaways but amionor infraction not determining the out come of a game is made. Just wrong!
    This game last night has probably determined the out come of the series and the refs had a major hand in this out come.
    The NHL Referees association should be ashamed of themselves . Like Bettman their boss they have no shame and are above any reproach for their poor performance.

  • stuhfan

    The correct call was ultimately made. The play happened so fast, I think the ref waved the goal off immediately because of Bennett’s position in the crease at the time. Then the slow motion replays showed it was really Chiasson using his stick to push the puck and Gibson’s blocker into the net, before everyone crashed in. The Flames coaching staff must’ve seen it this way too otherwise they would’ve challenged. It’s not as big a screw job as the fans (and some media) are making it out to be.

  • Franko J

    Mark my words: next game Perry, Eaves or Kesler will be in the goal crease and the puck will bounce off their shin pad, shoulder or skate and count. Unfortunately whatever you want to call it the “hockey gods” or Karma is not in the favour of the Flames when it comes to playing the Ducks.

  • Brodano12

    So if the goal was goalie interference, was it Bennett or Chiasson? Because if it was Bennett, it’s the wrong call because he was pushed into the net by an Anaheim player, and if it was Chiasson, it’s also the wrong call because he didn’t make contact with Gibson’s leg until the puck already crossed the line.
    Either way, it was the wrong call. That should have been a goal.

  • HOFer_dirty30

    I want to know the difference between chaisson sweeping his blocker with the puck into the net and crosby swipping elliots glove, knocking it out and into the net. Like for real, rewatch both those goals. This league’s officiating need some consistancy..

    • Christian Roatis

      Unfortunately, the difference is Sidney Crosby and who he is and what he represents. Elliott said himself after the (Pittsburgh) game, and I paraphrase: “You knew they wouldn’t take a goal away from him (Crosby)”. The Alex Chiasson and the Calgary Flames don’t hold the same value to the league. That’s my bitter take on it.

      • class1div1

        After another game Elliott was asked if he was upset that interference was not called and a goal was allowed by video review. He stated “I have no clue what the league calls a good goal”

  • Oldtimer

    Here is my conspiracy theory, Los Angeles is out of the playoffs and the NHL desperately wants a team to go deep from the huge Los Angeles market. The Flames will have no calls their way.