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Blue Jackets score controversial game-winner vs. Red Wings; why it counted (Video)

Greg Wyshynski
Puck Daddy
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Jackets GWG, via @NHLexpertpicks

The Columbus Blue Jackets pulled out an impressive, clutch 4-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night in a game that saw starting goalie Sergei Bobrovsky leave with an illness. But the game-winning goal wasn’t without controversy.

Cam Atkinson scored at 6:58 of the third period, tucking the puck past a sprawling Jimmy Howard for a 3-2 lead. One problem: The net was off its mooring, as the left peg lifted out.

Yet the goal counted. According to the NHL, the referees determined it was Red Wings defender Brendan Smith that caused the net to dislodge. Hence, Atkinson’s goal was good via Rule 63.6:

“In the event that the goal post is displaced, either deliberately or accidentally, prior to the puck crossing the normal positions of the goal posts, the referee may award a goal. In order to award a goal in this situation, the goal post must have been displaced by the actions of a defending player, the puck must have been shot (or the player must be in the act of shooting) at the goal prior to the goal post being displaced, and it must be determined that the puck would have entered the net between the normal position of the goal posts. The goal frame is considered to be displaced if either or both goal pegs are no longer in their respective holes in the ice, or the net has come completely off one or both pegs, prior to or as the puck enters the goal."

The NHL said it’s not a reviewable call, which we’re guessing means determining who dislodged the net, which we’ll add to the pile of “crap we wish you could use a coaches’ challenge to review.”

Anyhoo, based on the rule, it appears they got it right. There’s enough contract with Smith and Atkinson to logically claim that Smith was the catalyst for the dislodging, especially when Atkinson’s progress was stopped in the crease. Atkinson gets the shot off before the net’s completely off. And it obviously would have crossed if the net was still on.

Said Atkinson: “I wasn’t really sure. I knew the net went off, I guess their explanation was that the puck was going in when the net was coming off."

George Malik disagrees: “IN MY OPINION, Brendan Smith, who was caught on a stupid 2-on-1, did get a twist in on Cam Atkinson, but IN MY OPINION, Atkinson put the net off himself, and THEN scored into a dislodged net.”

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said the call was “interesting.” Jimmy Howard said, "Apparently you can knock the net off and still score."

Well, except if you’re a Russian defenseman playing the U.S. in Sochi. We really hope no one tries to turn either of the Wings/Jackets referees into soap.

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