The New York Rangers forced a Game 7 with a 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators on Monday night, but many in the NYC arena and the visitors' locker room at Scotiabank Place thought it should have been a 3-1 victory instead.
That's because Chris Neil kicked at a puck in the crease with less than a minute remaining, and when that puck went in the net, the officials ruled that it was a good goal. We have video.
Jason Spezza was credited with the goal after taking the shot from the blueline. The play was ruled a goal on the ice, and after official review, the league determined that there was inconclusive evidence to overturn the call. Here's the official ruling from the NHL's Situation Room blog:
At 19:21 of the third period in the Rangers/Senators game, video review was used to determine if Ottawa Senators forward Chris Neil kicked the puck into the New York net. Video review was inconclusive in determining if Chris Neil's left skate propelled the puck into the net. Call on the ice stands, good goal Ottawa.
It's obvious that Neil kicked at the puck, but the NHL is absolutely right here: The video is inconclusive when it comes to determining whether or not Neil's skate actually hit the puck. If he kicked the puck in it's no goal, but if he kicks Henrik Lundqvist's stick and the stick pushes the puck into the net? Well, that's a goal.
And since that's certainly a real possibility here -- I'm not sure how anybody, regardless of their rooting interest, could say one way or the other what happened on this play -- the officials in the War Room had no choice but to rule this a goal. They had to stick with the call that was made on the ice.
That doesn't mean Lundqvist was happy, though. His reaction after the game was certainly atypical of his usually calm demeanor.
Lundqvist livid post game after 2nd Sens goal: "It's an absolute joke...like someone wants to get them back in the game."— Steve Zipay (@stevezipay) April 24, 2012
Yes, exactly. Because as has been pointed out already, the NHL would absolutely love to see a team from a tiny Canadian city knock out a team from the biggest city in the hockey world. Makes perfect sense.