Did the Red Wings get screwed out of a goal?

When Henrik Zetterberg finally slipped a shot past goaltender Antti Niemi yesterday afternoon to cut San Jose’s lead in half, the Wings finally burst with a bit of life and energy as they tried with vigor to tie the game late in the third period. Ultimately the Wings were unsuccessful and now look to reclaim a bit of momentum as the series shifts back to Detroit for Games 3 and 4 Wednesday night and Friday night respectively. The return trip home might be under different circumstances, however, had the refs noticed what was lying under Niemi’s pads just minutes before Zetterberg’s goal. In fact, Zetterberg’s goal could have actually been the game tying goal.

With roughly 13 minutes left in the third period, Johan Franzen tried to loop a wrap-around past Niemi for one of the Wings’ best scoring chances of the game. The truth is, Franzen may have actually scored. Niemi manages to stick his pad out to hug the short side post and make the save before being pushed into the net by Franzen…who was pushed into Niemi by a barrage of San Jose players. Take a look at the video below and pay very close attention to Niemi’s left pad on the far side around the 9:38 mark after the whistle goes and Niemi begins to clamor out from the net. Watch what he kicks back out from inside the goal.

Niemi clearly kicks the puck into the pile of players from beneath his pad. So should this play have been ruled a goal?

Common sense would say no because Niemi was pushed into the goal along with the puck by Franzen. In fact, provision IX of Rule 78.5 says that a goal shall be disallowed, “when a goalkeeper has been pushed into the net together with the puck after making a save.”

However, take a look at what the NHL Rule Book says about goaltender interference:

“If an attacking player has been pushed, shoved, or fouled by a defending player so as to cause him to come into contact with the goalkeeper, such contact will not be deemed contact initiated by the attacking player for purposes of this rule, provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact.”

When you consider these two rules in correlation to one another along with the fact that Franzen was helpless in avoiding contact with Niemi because he was pushed into the San Jose keeper by San Jose players, this play should have amounted to a goal.

One could argue that the ref intended to blow the whistle. Watch the video again. Franzen is pushed into Niemi at the 9:36 mark on the video. Keep an eye on the ref who swings behind the back of the net to get a clear view of the puck. He doesn’t begin to bring the whistle up to his mouth until well after Niemi has been pushed into the net and the puck has crossed the goal line along with him.

Had this play been reviewed, Detroit might be in a different set of circumstances coming home for Games 3 and 4 of the Conference Semi-Finals. As it stands, however, the Wings will need to bring their A-game on Wednesday and find a way to get quality scoring chances from the slot and make life very difficult for Antti Niemi and the San Jose Sharks.

What do you think? Should this play have been reviewed? Should it have been a goal for the Red Wings?


  1. It was clearly a goal. Here is the email I sent to Bettman and the Officials:


    I attended yesterday’s Sharks/Wings game 2 and sat in my season seats behind the Sharks net. I saw with my own eyes Franzen’s wrap around go into the net. This was before a Sharks player cross-checked Franzen into Niemi. If you watch the video replay, you will see Niemi pulling the puck out of the net and then watching it as it goes under Franzen’s legs. I understand that the game is very fast and sometimes officials just blow calls, but what I can’t understand for the life of me is why the National League/Toronto did not even take the time to review the goal on the video. How could this possibly happen in a playoff game? So much at stake, too bad the officiating is so horrible.

    rule. 69.6 clarifies…


    “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.”

    Notice it says by an ATTACKING player. If a goalie’s own teammate pushes him in, or initiates contact with an opposing player that pushes him in, it’s a good goal.

    Do not worry, I do not expect the courtesy of a reply to my email.

    Keep the circus going until you guys wreck the game.

  2. Wow, so you were at the game watching this first hand? So the puck actually went in off Franzen’s stick even before he (and subsequently Niemi) were pushed into the net? That’s pretty crazy. I can’t believe they didn’t review the play. Keep us updated if they reply to your email!

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