Twelve seconds into the third period, the Toronto Maple Leafs finally solved Henrik Lundqvist.
As soon as the puck crossed the line, the New York Rangers goaltender called to the referee to reconsider, his argument being that Joffrey Lupul interfered with him in the crease.
The goal was reversed, though Leafs coach Mike Babcock challenged the alleged goalie interference. The call stood and the Rangers scored soon after to extend their lead to 2-0, eventually winning 3-1.
Should this goal have counted?
The advent of the coach’s challenge allows teams to call foul if they believe a play in their zone was previously offside or if their goaltender was impeded. Goalies, indeed, should be protected from crease crashers and dangerous collisions, even skaters keeping them from moving within their crease.
The Rangers did not use their coach’s challenge to reverse the call – the Leafs did, and lost. But the notion that Lupul made it impossible for Lundqvist to make a save in his crease is highly questionable.
Though the goal Brendan Gallagher scored on the Detroit Red Wings on Oct. 18 was of a different context, it’s amusing to watch this video and try to square in your mind how Gallagher’s counted and Lupul’s didn’t.
Lupul appeared to make contact with Lundqvist’s skate as he entered the blue ice and some contact was made between the two as the shot bounced through the goaltender’s pads. Neither instance appeared to be a clear-cut example of interference.
A goaltender’s safety and the integrity of the rules should be paramount in all situations. But this goal should have counted.