Goaltender interference challenges have been one of the biggest stories of this season, with hockey fans nervously eyeing the potential impact it could have on the playoffs.
On Tuesday night, we saw how it can dramatically affect the push to actually get to the playoffs, with a goalie interference call against the Nashville Predators that may have just kept the Florida Panthers in it — and their Eastern Conference foes out (for now, anyway).
Here’s the setup: Going into Tuesday night’s action, the Columbus Blue Jackets, Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils each had a chance to officially clinch their respective playoff berths. All three clubs required a win and a Panthers loss in order to officially lock up the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
The Predators also had a lot riding on their game, too. While the Central Division heavyweight locked up its playoff berth ages ago, the club would clinch the Western Conference with a win Tuesday night.
The Devils did their part, winning 5-2 thanks to a four-point haul from Taylor Hall. So too did the Blue Jackets, with a 5-4 overtime win. The Flyers messed up our narrative a little bit, losing a tight one in New York. (Hey, it happens.)
At that point, all eyes were on the Predators-Panthers game. It was 2-1 Panthers in the dying seconds and then, with less than a second remaining in regulation, Filip Forsberg squeaked one past Roberto Luongo. The call on the play was a goal, but an automatic review resulted in a no-goal verdict.
See the play for yourself at the top of this post, and read the NHL’s explanation here:
As you can imagine, Hockey Twitter went a little bit nuts about the call:
If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s you’re always right https://t.co/FJVoTfYmSi
— Mike Fisher (@mikefisher1212) April 4, 2018
As you maybe didn’t expect, so did Kiefer Sutherland…?
A few Predators players had some strong words following the game, including the
“It’s a goal,” Forsberg told reporters. “It’s got to be a goal. … I don’t know what’s going on. It’s so inconsistent that we don’t even know when it’s a goal or not, but this one was clearly a goal. The puck was never covered. The goalie had no clue where it (was), and it ends up on my tape and it’s in. And they somehow don’t think so. I disagree 100 per cent.
“Either the refs don’t know or Toronto doesn’t know,” Forsberg continued. “They’re definitely not on the same page because there’s so many different situations and similar situations, too, that get called both ways. I don’t know who made the call here, but they definitely didn’t get it right.”
The Panthers still sit just outside the playoff picture with 90 points—four behind the wild card Flyers with one game in hand.