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Hello Mr. Fraser,
In the Leafs and Pens game Wednesday night, it appeared that Evgeni Malkin pushed Leaf netminder Jonathan Bernier into the net before putting the puck in. Should this have been called goaltender interference resulting the goal being disallowed?
Was the game-tying goal by Malkin a good goal in your opinion? It looks like he pushed Bernier into the net with his forward motion before slapping the puck in the net. Not sure what the rule book says here and would like some clarification. Thank you!
Ryan Sneek, Toronto
Andrew and Ryan (and a vast multitude who submitted a question on this same play, I thank you),
Evgeni Malkin's game tying goal should have been disallowed by the referee(s) on two counts.
(i) The puck slid under the pad of Leafs goalkeeper Jonathan Bernier as he established a butterfly position and made the initial save on Sidney Crosby's 'skate to stick' redirection at the top of the crease. The puck remained trapped under Bernier's pad (did not continue to slide toward the goal) constituting not only a "save" but a frozen puck with players crashing the crease. The whistle should have been blown to stop play in this instant or at the very least "intent to blow the whistle!"
In fairness, a quick whistle was an unlikely option since the referee in the corner had a severely obstructed view looking through the backs of Crosby, and Leaf defenders Paul Ranger, Carl Gunnarson and Nazem Kadri. What followed was a clear violation of rule 69 - Interference on the Goalkeeper.
(ii) Rule 69.3 states, "If an attacking player initiates contact with a goalkeeper, incidental or otherwise, while the goalkeeper is in his goal crease, and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed."
(See also 69.6 - In the event that a goalkeeper has been pushed into the net together with the puck by an attacking player after making a stop, the goal will be disallowed)
Evgeni Malkin used his stick intentionally and deliberately to push Bernier's pad off the covered puck and in the process deposited both Bernier and the puck into the net.
A conference should have been conducted by the four officials (standard operating procedure) and concluded from their various angles that goalkeeper interference had occurred and Bernier and the puck were illegally deposited into the net.
While a minor penalty could have resulted to Evgeni Malkin for his deliberate and intentional contact with Jonathan Bernier (69.2) an argument could be made that Malkin was digging for what he thought to be a 'loose' puck and no penalty would result. Either way (penalty or not) a clear violation of goalkeeper interference took place and the goal should have been waved off.
This dirty goal is just another example for the ongoing need to allow the referee(s) to conduct a video review when goalkeeper interference is suspected. If a Coach's Challenge was allowed, Randy Carlyle would have rightly tossed the flag instead of just blowing a gasket to no avail.