If you’ve been following the first round of the NHL Playoffs, then you are as confused and frustrated as many hockey fans. Nobody seems to know what constitutes goaltender interference anymore.
In the Bruins game against the Maple Leafs at TD Garden, such a controversial ruling helped decide Toronto’s 2-1 victory in Game Five earlier on Good Friday.
Auston Matthews scored his fourth goal of the series to break a scoreless tie with 8:27 left in regulation. The play was immediately challenged by Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy for goalie interference. On Matthews’ goal, Leafs forward Zach Hyman made contact with Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask in the crease. The NBCSN replays seemed to indicate to most observers including Doc Emrick and Mike Milbury that the call on the ice would get overturned.
Instead, following a lengthy review, they ruled that the call on the ice stood to make it a good goal for Matthews. The goaltender interference review has been an issue all season. In one case, they ruled in favor of the goalscorer with a very candid Matthews acknowledging that he got lucky after the win. That indicates how controversial this rule is.
If you have players like Talbot voicing their opinion, that is a pretty good indication of how confusing the league reviews have become. You have refs who are now afraid to make calls even when the old incidental contact explanation would’ve wiped out the goal from Matthews.
It’s a good thing Kasperi Kapanen scored to make it 2-0. Otherwise, who knows what could’ve happened? Boston got a David Krejci goal with just over 44 seconds left to cut it to 2-1. The Leafs protected the lead by getting one final save by Freddie Andersen on Brad Marchand to preserve the win.
Toronto will take a three games to two lead back home where they’ll try to close out the Bruins.
For Boston, they didn’t play well enough to win. However, there will still be wonder on the league explanation on why the Matthews goal was upheld. There was not enough conclusive evidence to overturn it. Sure.
Every decision they make is different, causing more befuddlement from the hockey community. Nobody knows what the heck is going on. Given all the technology they have in Toronto, you would think they can get it right without puzzling reasons that leave more questions than answers.
With Calgary about to go out in five games to another eight seed in the ultra talented Avalanche, it’ll become NHL history. For the first time ever, both top seeds will be eliminated in the first round. The Lightning won 62 games and piled up 128 points only to get swept by “eight seed” Columbus.
I like upsets as much as anyone. This isn’t good for hockey. But parity, parity, parity Gary Bettman will say. It’s growing tiresome. Not as exhausting as the confusing rulings on coaches challenges for goalie interference.
When will it end? Enough is enough already.