Breaking down Ducks’ controversial Game 4 goals and why they counted

Watch as Ryan Getzlaf scores his second goal of the second period to give the Anaheim Ducks the lead over the Edmonton Oilers.

Everything was going well for the Edmonton Oilers in Game 4 of their second-round series against the Anaheim Ducks, building up a 2-0 lead by the end of the first period.

And then Ryan Getzlaf arrived.

The Ducks captain got his team on the board less than two minutes into the second period, and then assisted on another just four minutes later. He closed out the second frame with another goal to make it 3-2 after 40.

But it’s a little more complicated than that. Let’s dig in.

Goal No. 1: Getzlaf scores, but should it count?

The confusion in this one can be found just outside Cam Talbot’s crease, where Ducks forward Corey Perry makes contact with the netminder and factors into Talbot’s ability to make the save.

The fact that the contact occurred just outside the blue paint caused plenty of confusion in this case.

After review the play, officials “confirmed no goaltender interference infractions occurred” and upheld the original call: Good goal Anaheim Ducks.

The relevent rule in this scenario is 69.4—Contact Outside the Goal Crease — which states the following:

“If an attacking player initiates any contact with a goalkeeper, other than incidental contact, while the goalkeeper is outside his goal crease, and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed. A goalkeeper is not ‘fair game’ just because he is outside the goal crease. The appropriate penalty should be assessed in every case where an attacking player makes unnecessary contact with the goalkeeper.”NHL Rule Book, 69.4

The key here, however, could lie in the officials’ interpretation of what counts as incidental contact. Back to the rulebook we go, and to the rest of rule 69.4’s description:

“However, incidental contact will be permitted when the goalkeeper is in the act of playing the puck outside his goal crease provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such unnecessary contact. When a goalkeeper has played the puck outside of his crease and is then prevented from returning to his crease area due to the deliberate actions of an attacking player, such player may be penalized for goalkeeper interference. Similarly, the goalkeeper may be penalized, if by his actions outside of his crease he deliberately interferes with an attacking player who is attempting to play the puck or an opponent.”NHL Rule Book, 69.4, continued

As Sportsnet’s Ron MacLean pointed out during the intermission, this ruling could come down to Table 16 of the rule book:

“An attacking player skates in front of the goalkeeper, outside the crease, at the same time a goal is being scored. The attacking player remains in motion and impairs the goalkeeper’s ability to defend his goal.”

In this case, the rule book states that the “goal is allowed.”

The Oilers lose the challenge and their timeout. Alright, let’s move on.

Goal No. 2: Rickard Rakell scores, but is it offside?

Edmontonians hadn’t quite recovered from the first controversial goal when the second came along four minutes later.

As Josh Manson carried the puck over the blue line and into the Oilers’ zone, Perry’s skate is off the ice and he appeared to be just offside.

The officials did not whistle the play offside, and the Ducks went on to tie things up. Under normal circumstances, the Oilers would be most likely challenge this goal, but they lost their ability to do so when they came out on the losing end of their coach’s challenge just minutes earlier.

Goal No. 3: Getzlaf takes the lead

By all accounts, this was a good goal—and was called as such, controversy-free. Yet that doesn’t make it any less painful for Oilers fans:

The Oilers managed to score a game-tying goal late in regulation, and it looked like things might swing back the Oilers’ way after all this.

No such luck in Edmonton, however. Which leads us to…

Goal No. 4: Overtime winner. Perfectly legal…?

Total heartbreaker for Oilers fans, just 45 seconds into OT.

…on second thought, it seems there was some confusion around whether it should have been called icing.

Take a look:

And just like that, we’ve got a 2-2 series tie in the west.

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