Look, the Nashville Predators are probably still going to win the Central Division, and the Florida Panthers face long odds to ride tonight’s regulation victory to a playoff spot out East.
Even so, the Predators seemed to score a goal that would send Tuesday’s game into overtime. Instead, it was waved off for goalie interference as the Panthers prevailed 2-1.
Take a look at the would-be goal while we wait for the league’s typically nondescript reason why Filip Forsberg‘s tally didn’t count:
Search the Internet and you’ll find plenty of rage on this goal, even by “goalie interference infuriates all hockey fans at some point” standards. In fact, Carrie Underwood couldn’t help but chime in. She might be a little biased considering the fact that she’s married to Predators center Mike Fisher, but still.
(This would be a good time to reference one of her songs. Should Gary Bettman worry about his car getting keyed?)
Kiefer Sutherland shared a similar sentiment, prompting thoughts of Solid Snake infiltrating “the war room” in Toronto for answers.*
* – A “24” reference would have been more understandable, but “Metal Gear Solid V” deserves a plug.
To be fair to Underwood, she’s far from alone in being flabbergasted by the call.
Forsberg voices an opinion many seem to hold: that there’s a lack of clarity regarding what is or is not goalie interference.
“Either the refs don’t know or Toronto doesn’t know,” Forsberg said, via the Tennessean’s Adam Vingan. “They’re definitely not on the same page.”
Regardless, the Winnipeg Jets still have an outside chance at winning the Central, as they trail Nashville by three standings points as both teams have two games left.
Again, it’s not likely that the Jets will take it. That said, it’s worth monitoring, as the winner of the Central will hold home-ice through at least the West playoffs, and might win the Presidents’ Trophy. So there’s a worst-case scenario beyond the NHL drawing Underwood’s ire.
It’s probably a bigger deal that the Panthers won, although they still will need quite a bit of good fortune to earn a playoff bid.
[The 2018 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs begin April 11 on the networks of NBC]
Elsewhere in the East, the Blue Jackets rallied for a 5-4 overtime win against the Red Wings. The Devils also took care of business, beating the Rangers 5-2. The Flyers almost managed a rally like Columbus, yet Mathew Barzal‘s second goal of the night proved to be the spoiler as the Islanders won in regulation.
Overall, it’s still gloomy for the Panthers, who might actually need to cross their fingers that the Flyers slip after seemingly being focused on the Devils. Here’s an updated look:
Third Metro spot: Blue Jackets, 96 points, 2 games remaining, 39 ROW
First WC: Devils, 95 points, 2 GR, 38 ROW
Second WC: Flyers, 94 points, 2 GR, 38 ROW
Panthers, ninth place: 90 points, 3 GR, 38 ROW
The Panthers face the Bruins twice to close out the season with a game against the Sabres sandwiched in between. If they won all three of those games, they’d max out at 96 standings points, so you can see how slim their odds might be.
Still, their hope is alive after Tuesday, and some might argue that they can partially thank the NHL’s polarizing process for that.
Update: Hey, credit the league for at least going a little more in-depth with their explanation: