Once again, with just under a minute remaining in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals Series between the top seeded New York Rangers and eighth seeded Ottawa Senators, we had some controversy in a game which already included a few questionable calls on both sides.
The Rangers were leading the Senators 3-1 when agitator Chris Neil (who faked being injured just prior to this) was in the crease and seemed to have kicked the puck into the net with his skate.
Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist immediately rose from the ice and was screaming at referee Tim Peel. Peel grabbed Lundqvist’s mask so he could actually hear what the net minder was arguing since the 20,500 people inside Scotiabank Place were reacting to the goal.
After a lengthy replay, my money would have been on the result being “no goal,” but once again the officiating in these playoffs surprised me when Peel signaled goal, cutting the lead to 3-2.
A few notes/thoughts on the goal:
1) It was interesting Peel made any gesture for a goal at all. I have seen numerous times in the NHL when a referee isn’t sure of a call, he will not make any signal and immediately go to Toronto.
2) Neil definitely intended to try and kick the puck into the net. He fanned on the kick, but the bottom part of his blade seemed to nudge the puck past Lundqvist’s glove and into the net. If his intent was to kick it, should that have some say into the decision?
3) The MSG feed was sure it was no goal while the CBC feed was sure it was a goal.
4) The main reason the call was a goal because that was Tim Peel’s initial call and there wasn’t enough evidence to overturn it (although I thought there clearly was.)
In the end, for a neutral fan, such as me, it was very entertaining. Any time you see a goalie react similar to Lundqvist, you know its playoff hockey.
Lundqvist didn’t do a great job of keeping his emotions in check, which is very uncharacteristic of the Swede, as you could hear him screaming obscenities at Peel on MSG after the final whistle had blown and the Rangers skated away with a 3-2 victory.
After the game, Lundqvist had some choice words for the zebras:
“It's an absolute joke. Oh my god, it scares me. It's such an obvious play, goalie interference, and a kick. And they still call it a goal? That scares me, that someone can call that. It still upsets me. Someone wants them back in the game obviously. There’s no other explanation.”
Either way you look at, the Rangers are psyched they are heading home for Game 7; which will be the first Game 7 at Madison Square Garden since 1994.
It’s going to be wild.