Yet another almost-goal has fallen into the mysterious abyss of goaltender interference.
Brian Dumoulin's tally likely wouldn't have made a difference in Pittsburgh's 5-2 loss to the Maple Leafs, but the Penguins' defenseman will never know what could have been Saturday night.
Dumoulin thought he ended Frederik Andersen's shutout bid by making it a 3-1 game late in the second period, but the goal was waved off by the referees because his shoulder made contact with Andersen's helmet during the play.
Instead of getting his fifth goal of the season, Dumoulin ended up with a two-minute penalty for the bump. Since the play was ruled goaltender interference on the ice, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan could not challenge the call and took exception to it after the game.
Sullivan on the Dumoulin goalie interference call: "I disagree with the call. They see it a certain way out there. I do think the call should be challengeable. It is a turning point in the game. Based on everything that I watched and saw, it looked to me like it was a good goal."
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) March 11, 2018
Crosby on Dumoulin goal being waved off for goalie interference:
“I thought if there was any contact it was after the puck went in. It’s obviously easy to say that after you see a replay but yeah, it was a big play in the game.”#TMLTalk #LetsGoPens #NHL
— Dave McCarthy (@DaveAMcCarthy) March 11, 2018
Confusion and frustration around goaltender interference has been mounting throughout the NHL this season and Dumoulin's non-goal is another prime example of it. The league officially defines the rule as follows:
"Goals scored while attacking players are standing in the crease may, in appropriate circumstances be allowed. 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; or (2) an attacking player initiates intentional or deliberate contact with a goalkeeper, inside or outside of his goal crease. Incidental contact with a goalkeeper will be permitted, and resulting goals allowed, when such contact is initiated outside of the goal crease, provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact."
Similar to the catch rule in the NFL, goaltender interference has become what feels like a crapshoot to coaches, players and fans alike. No one seems to understand what exactly it is, including Stars forward Jamie Benn, who was following along with the action.
2 mins for scoring. Huh?
— Jamie Benn (@jamiebenn14) March 11, 2018
After the Dumoulin goal was waived off, Sidney Crosby and Patric Hornqvist got the Penguins on the board late in the third period and cut Toronto's 4-0 lead in half. An empty-netter from Patrick Marleau in the final minute made it a 5-2 game as the Leafs earned their 10th straight home victory.
Despite the loss, the Penguins remain second in the Metropolitan Division standings, while Toronto holds the third spot in the Atlantic.