Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist and Penguins netminder Marc-Andre Fleury have been at the top of their game so far tonight, so in a way, it seems appropriate that Pittsburgh’s first marker of the contest came under unusual circumstances.
With the Penguins down 1-0 and facing elimination, Sidney Crosby took a shot on goal that was stopped by Lundqvist. However, he could not control the rebound under the circumstances and it ended up hitting Nick Spaling in the arm as he crashed towards the net. The play was initially reviewed to determine if Spaling batted it in with his hand, but it was determined to be a good goal.
The NHL Situation Room issued this statement:
At 17:23 of the second period in the Pittsburgh Penguins/New York Rangers game, video review supported the referee’s call on the ice that the puck deflected off Nick Spaling and into the New York net in a legal fashion. According to Rule 78.4 “If an attacking player has the puck deflect into the net, off his skate or body, in any manner, the goal shall be allowed”. Good goal Pittsburgh.
Spaling only had nine goals in 82 games during the 2014-15 regular season. Coming into this contest, he had two career markers in 32 playoff contests.
The game remained tied at 1-1 going into the second intermission.