The New York Rangers want to know what constitutes a goalkeeper’s interference. There is something very familiar to Rangers fans about this call. During Game Two of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final, Henrik Lundqvist was interfered, but the goal was allowed to stand, resulting in the Los Angeles Kings returning to win in overtime. That moment is engraved in the memories of the Rangers fans, but it was in the past
New York Rangers fans never forget
Beginning the following season, the goalkeeper’s intervention was added to the coaches challenge list that can be reviewed. The rule changes the silent acknowledgment that officials on the ice made a mistake in calling. The coaches were then able to pass their judgment on the play and request a review of the play. Something that Alain Vinault and the Rangers could have used so hard in that final series.
Being able to challenge this kind of play was to help make sure that the call on the ice was actually the right and accurate call. During the 2022 NHL playoff season, three selected goalkeepers’ interference games were reviewed and their respective provisions led to questions of inconsistency. In the first game of the New York Rangers vs Pittsburgh Penguins series, Filip Chytil had a goal disallowed because a goalkeeper’s interference was ruled out.
In the earlier moments before scoring the goal, Capo Kaku made contact with Penguin goalkeeper Casey Desmith while Penguin defender Brian Dumoulin pushed him into a pucker. The play was called a goal on ice but no goal was calculated after revision.
One of these three is not like the others
In Game Three of the Colorado Avalanche Series against the Nashville Predators, the call went the other way. Avalanche forward Arturi Likonen’s skate impacted Predators goalkeeper Conor Ingram’s skate, forcing him to unbalance when Colorado captain Gabriel Landskog took a shot. After revision, this goal was left standing.
In the third game of the Dallas Stars series versus the Calgary Flames, another goalkeeper interference review allowed for a goal setting. Milan Lucic of The Flames knocks out star goalkeeper Jake Oettinger after a light contact with stars Tyler Seguin. Lucic took back the disc that was originally wide for a shot. Oettinger, without being able to get his foot back was still able to stop the shot, but Trevor Lewis scored on the rebound. The review found no goalkeeper intervention.
Three separate cases where the goalkeeper was apparently molested during the play. All three called targets by ice officials and challenged the three in review. Of those three, only the Rangers goal was disallowed. While this irritated the Rangers fan base, star fans and predators had to watch their team take a penalty for losing the Coaches Challenge.
After analysis, all three plays are similar in that there is a defensive player communicating with an attacking player before communicating with the goalkeeper, albeit to varying degrees. Each also feels like contact with the goalkeeper is enough to not allow them to play their position properly. Each is similar enough that all three should have been targets or all three should have been cancelled.
Let the officials preside
Why the difference? Because decisions were made by the operating room in Toronto, not the officials on the ice. Tablet technology should be sufficient to allow on ice administrators to review their private call. They made a sentencing because the play happened in real time and the review would provide more information and different angles to support or reverse their decision. It will also allow administrators to inform the coach of their decision and why.
With Toronto making the call, there is unfortunately uncertainty and inconsistency. During the qualifiers, it is very important for the participating teams not to correct the call. The Flames tied the match with goal allowed, but the stars went on to win the match. Avalanche won their match 7-3, so you need to see how much impact their allowable target could have. But for the New York Rangers, their disallowed goal would have put them ahead and directly affected the outcome of the match.
The NHL needs to make sure they get those calls right.