Stars' OT Winner Disallowed vs. Avs for Goaltender Interference

26 days ago
Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars’ overtime game-winning goal in Game 6 against the Colorado Avalanche was disallowed for goaltender interference, a call that was confirmed after a Situation Room review. 

With just over seven minutes remaining in the first overtime period of Friday’s game, Stars winger Mason Marchment fired a wrister from the slot that eluded Avs netminder Alexandar Georgiev. Referee Graham Skilliter emphatically waved off the goal. 

“There’s contact with the goalkeeper in the blue paint,” announced Skilliter. “No goal.”

Dallas forward Matt Duchene was posted at the top of the crease, battling for position with Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar.  Duchene keeps his skates out of the blue paint. He doesn’t appear to make contact with the goaltender until he’s pushed by Makar. 

As with all Coach’s Challenge-eligible plays in overtime, the NHL’s Situation Room automatically took a second look at the play. After a lengthy review, Skilliter relayed the decision. The call on the ice would stand. No goal. 

Rule 69.3 covers contact in the goal crease:

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.

Fair enough. Was the contact, though, initiated by Makar’s shove?  From Rule 69.1:

If an attacking player has been pushed, shoved, or fouled by a defending player so as to cause him to come into contact with the goalkeeper, such contact will not be deemed contact initiated by the attacking player for purposes of this rule, provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact.

Or did the league feel Duchene didn’t do enough to avoid contact?

We may never know.  Here’s the NHL’s official ruling:

Video review supported the Referee’s call on the ice that Dallas’ Matt Duchene impaired Alexandar Georgiev’s ability to play his position in the crease prior to the puck entering the Colorado net.

The decision was made in accordance with Rule 69.1 which states, in part, ‘Goals should be disallowed only if: (1) an attacking player, either by his positioning or by contact, impairs the goalkeeper’s ability to move freely within his crease or defend his goal.’

Not a great explanation, right? Hopefully Stars head coach Pete DeBoer eventually got more details, as even he was left wondering after the game.

“I’d like to get an explanation. I didn’t get an explanation,” said DeBoer. “I had heard the referees had talked to some of the players [and] the players told me what the referee said. Sometimes that gets lost in translation, especially with some of our players, so I don’t want to comment on it until I get an official explanation. Puzzled, but I want to hear what the explanation was.”

Apparently, disallowed goal-scorer Mason Marchment received a bit more detail on the decision.

“The explanation that I got was Dutchie’s a** was over the line,” relayed Marchment, per the Dallas News. “His feet were outside but his a** was over the line. That’s the explanation I got. Then he got pushed in.”

“I think honestly, they didn’t want to make it a deciding goal, right? I get it, but I think there’s got to be some sort of standard because you can’t push a guy into your own goalie and not it be goaltender interference. There’s just got to be some sort of standard, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. We got the job done.”

It’s particulary puzzling when clear intentional contact on a defending player resulting in a goal that was allowed to stand earlier in the week, when Florida’s Sam Bennett shoved Charlie Coyle into Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman.  At least with Tampa’s disallowed goal against the Panthers, one can argue that Cirelli turned into Bobrosvky instead of avoiding contact. 

That would definitely have stood as a goal if that was the call on the ice. League really seems to be leaning into keeping the call on the ice unless the video is really overwhelming these days.

— Down Goes Brown (@DownGoesBrown) May 18, 2024

Three goals have been disallowed via Coach’s Challenge in the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs.  Teams have gone 3-for-8 (38%) in coach’s challenges — 2-for-3 (66%) on offside and 1-for-5 (20%) on goaltender interference.  This is the first goal taken off the board after league-initiated review; as noted, the Situation Room automatically reviews all plays eligible for a challenge in the final minute of regulation or any point in overtime. 

The Dallas Stars would hang in there, though, with Matt Duchene eventually scoring the game-winner — and series-winner — 19:11 later.  The Stars defeated the Avalanche 2-1 in double-overtime to win their second-round series 4-2. Referees for the game were Chris Rooney (#5) and Graham Skilliter (#24) with lineys Steve Barton (#59) and Jesse Marquis (#86).   

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