Originally, it looked like the Lightning had scored the all-important go-ahead goal. After a scramble in front of the Montreal net, with Alex Killorn spilling into the crease, Carey Price flopping all over, and the puck moving side to side before Ryan Callahan put the puck in.
But the goal was waved off by the officials, presumably because of goaltender interference.
On its face, that's a terrible call. Price wasn't interfered with at all. Sure, Killorn was briefly where the puck would eventually wind up, but he didn't touch Price. The only contact between the Lightning forward and the Canadiens defender came when Price attempted to re-establish position moving to his left and inadvertently stepped on the back of the fleeing Killorn's skate.
Price fell, and never quite got set after that, moving back across the ice to chase the puck and flopping at Callahan's shot, which deflected off his body and in.
But according to the NHL rulebook, that's enough. Rule 69.3 makes allowances for calling off goals based on exactly this type of contact:
69.3 Contact Inside the Goal Crease - If an attacking player initiates contact with a goalkeeper, incidental or otherwise, while the goalkeeper is in his goal crease, and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed.
If a goalkeeper, in the act of establishing his position within his goal crease, initiates contact with an attacking player who is in the goal crease, and this results in an impairment of the goalkeeper’s ability to defend his goal, and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed.
You could argue, and referee Francis Charron seemed to feel this way (yes, he's Quebec-born, so fire up your conspiracy theories), that Price was impaired in his ability to establish position and defend his goal by stepping on Killorn's skate. And because it happened in his crease, well, that's enough.
My opinion: Price knew what he was doing, flopping down to the ice after the contact, and even in weakly attempting to get back into position for Callahan's shot. He played Charron like a fiddle.
But even so, by the rule of the law, the call was correct. Argue the call was terrible all you want -- seems to me it's the rule, which makes room for disallowing a goal under these exact circumstances, is the truly terrible part of this play.
It got worse for Tampa Bay. Shortly after having its goal taken away, Steven Stamkos took a knee to the back of the head on a freaky collision with Alexei Emelin and left the game:
He returned for the third period, but when he did, the Canadiens led 2-1 on a Brendan Gallagher goal, and even that was another bit of bad fortune for the Lightning. P.K. Subban found himself wide open to make the pass to Gallagher after Ondrej Palat somehow got his stick caught in the net as he chased Subban around it and wound up pole-vaulting into the wall.
That's the sort of thing that will knock the wind out of the guy, and considering everything else that led up to it, it's little wonder that it knocked the wind out of the rest of the Lighting as well.
Early in the third, the Canadiens made it 3-1. The Lighting would cut the lead in half thanks to a Matt Carle goal set up by the returning Stamkos, but it's as close as they could come, falling 3-2 and falling down 3-0 in the first-round series.
Game 4, the first elimination game of the 2014 playoffs, goes Tuesday night in Montreal.
- Ice Hockey
- Sports & Recreation
- Tampa Bay Lightning
- Montreal Canadiens
- Alex Killorn
- Carey Price
- Ryan Callahan