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The Ducks have every right to be upset about that controversial Islanders shootout goal

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It sure seems like something was missed here.

NHL: New York Islanders at Anaheim Ducks Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

By all accounts, the Anaheim Ducks played one of their best games of the year on Tuesday.

Despite giving up a lead in the third period, the Ducks fought the New York Islanders tooth and nail for the next hour and a half. No, really. That’s how long it lasted: it took five minutes of overtime and 14 shootout rounds to finish the game. It was the longest shootout in Ducks history. And they deserved the win. (So did the Islanders, too, really.)

And yet, Anaheim lost undeservedly. In case you were sleeping, let’s walk through it.

The 12th round

Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey stepped up to the plate, needing to score to keep his team alive. He scored, and Ducks goalie Jonathan Bernier had a big issue with it. See if you can guess why.

Ah, yes. It appears that Hickey made the shot and then shoved the puck against Bernier’s pad into the net. Fox Sports Anaheim telestrated this perfectly as the referees huddled together to review the call:

The rules

Does that puck go in if Hickey doesn’t give that one final push into Bernier’s pads? Probably not. And, for the record, that is a goal usually disallowed during normal play under Rule 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. If applicable, appropriate penalties will be assessed. If, however, in the opinion of the Referee, the attacking player was pushed or otherwise fouled by a defending player causing the goalkeeper to be pushed into the net together with the puck, the goal can be permitted.

In addition, Rule 24 (regarding penalty shots) clearly states that no goal will be allowed off a rebound of any kind.

The ruling

Here’s what the NHL said after the game:

In the shootout of the Islanders/Ducks game, the Situation Room initiated a review under the terms of a Coach’s Challenge to review whether Islanders shooter Thomas Hickey interfered with Anaheim goaltender Jonathan Bernier prior to his shootout goal. After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Referee confirmed no goaltender interference infractions occurred before the puck crossed the goal line. Therefore the original call standsgood goal New York Islanders.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The result

Nick Leddy stepped up to the plate, drove the dagger home ...

... and Bernier threw visual daggers into the ref on the way to the locker room.

The reactions

Both Bernier and coach Randy Carlyle were candid about their displeasure and confusion after the game.

It’s hard not to blame them. Anaheim worked hard for a win only for the extra point to slip away due to an officiating mistake. That point matters; with the Edmonton Oilers looking like contenders, there’s a good chance Pacific Division is now a four-horse marathon for playoff spots.

Could one little questionable nudge decide a playoff race? The Ducks hope they don’t have to find out.