Why Lightning were allowed to score after Avalanche's Kuemper lost his helmet

Watch as Tampa Bay Lightning forward Anthony Cirelli buries a loose rebound to score just 36 seconds into Game 4 against the Colorado Avalanche.

The Tampa Bay Lightning wasted little time getting on the board in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, with Anthony Cirelli burying a rebound only 36 seconds into the game.

But the most shocking part of the play came just a moment before, when a point shot from Tampa's Erik Cernak knocked Avalanche goalie Darcy Kuemper's mask off.

It's common to see skaters lose helmets — and immediately skate to the bench — but goalies don't have that same luxury. For that reason the NHL has a clear rule on what is legal when a mask pops off.

According to Rule 9.6 (Helmets), "When a goalkeeper has lost his helmet and/or face mask and... the opposing team has control of the puck, play shall only be stopped if there is no immediate and impending scoring opportunity."

The rule also says that if the Avalanche had taken control of the puck instead, the play would have been whistled dead.

So, for that reason, the Lightning's goal counted and the two-time defending champs grabbed some early momentum in Game 4.

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