I am a contributing editor/writer/troublemaker for NBC's Pro Hockey Talk blog.
Goalie interference calls can be … nebulous. That confusion is only compounded in the playoffs, when officials are under the microscope when every game and twist means that much more.
The NHL can be relieved that a decision to waive off a goal due to goalie interference likely won’t make a big impact in Game 4 of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals, but it could have been significant.
(Especially when Auston Matthews made Washington’s lead shrink to a mere goal; the Caps restored it soon after.)
You can watch the disallowed goal in the video above. Here’s the NHL Situation Room Blog explanation:
After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Referee determined that Washington’s Nicklas Backstrom interfered with Toronto goaltender Frederik Andersen.
Sign that things aren’t as clear as they could be: Roberto Luongo joke.
Goalies are so technically sound in 2017, there are times when you’re tempted to assume that they’re almost robotic. It’s refreshing, then, when they do something bold.
(Especially when it isn’t the sort of bold move that involves risky puckhandling that makes fans utter a string of profanities.)
Craig Anderson helped to keep Game 4 of the Ottawa Senators and Boston Bruins tied 0-0 by intercepting Brad Marchand with a nice little gamble of a save. Watch it in the video above.
Also: it remains 0-0 midway through the second after a goal was disallowed. Here’s a replay of that offside call:
The Ottawa Senators are a healthier team than the Boston Bruins, but the Sens did lose a player in Game 4.
A hard Kevan Miller hit prompted Tom Pyatt to leave the ice and the Senators announced that the forward will not return on Wednesday. They’re labeling it an upper-body injury.
The 30-year-old hasn’t been able to generate much offense in the playoffs so far. He did have nine goals and 23 points in 82 games in 2016-17.
Here’s an alternate angle on the hit:
The Washington Capitals have been reading all the bad press after they fell behind 2-1 in their series against the Toronto Maple Leafs. They’ve responded with a thunderous first period.
That included rushing out to a 2-0 lead, echoing the start to Game 3. Following the script, the Leafs showed some spirit in quickly responding with a 2-1 goal.
Then Tom Wilson shredded the script like Bill Murray with “Ghostbusters 3.”
It began when the Leafs were seemingly inches away from tying it 2-2, only Wilson helped nullify that chance … and then deflected a 3-1 goal.
Not long after, he really silenced Toronto fans with a 4-1 tally.
Wilson is from Toronto, so that must make this experience much sweeter for the big forward, especially considering his heroics in Game 1.
You could make an argument that the young Maple Leafs are “learning a big lesson” against an experienced team much like the Edmonton Oilers against the San Jose Sharks. On the bright side, the young Buds have time to respond tonight (though Wilson’s made it so they have a long way to go).
The NHL announced the three finalists for the 2017 Selke on Wednesday: Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins, Ryan Kesler of the Anaheim Ducks and the Minnesota Wild’s Mikko Koivu.
As a reminder, the award is phrased as being given “to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.” PHWA members are the voters.
From here, these are some great choices. Sure, you can advance your own suggestions (Mikael Backlund of the Calgary Flames, maybe?) but no one’s really glaringly out of place.
Bergeron is a three-time winner of the trophy, a player who tends to satisfy “traditional” types with his face-off skills and scoring output, while he’s such a perennial puck possession monster that fancy stat-leaning people may think of the nominees as Bergeron and two other guys.
The NHL does a nice job summarizing Kesler’s regular spot among nominees:
Kesler is a Selke finalist for the second consecutive season and for the fifth time overall. He finished third in 2016 with Anaheim and was a finalist in each season from 2009 through 2011 with Vancouver, capturing the award in 2011.
This is the first time Koivu’s been nominated. For some time, he was a favorite on “most underrated” lists, although he dealt with some struggles before Bruce Boudreau came along. He was a huge part of the Wild’s impressive work in the regular season.
You really can’t go wrong with any of these three nominees.