The Los Angeles Kings became the ninth team in NHL history to rally from down 0-3 in a series and force a seventh and deciding game, topping the San Jose Sharks 4-1 in Monday night's Game 6. (Curiously, they became the second team in four years to do it against the Sharks, who are doing absolutely nothing to kill their reputation as playoff chokers, choking away a 3-0 lead like the chokiest bunch of chokes that ever choked.)
The Sharks have plenty of reasons to be unhappy with themselves after this loss. But they may also have cause to be angry with the officials, who allowed Justin Williams' game-winning goal. Should it have counted?
Todd McLellan didn't think so. "We got cheated. Simple as that," he told the assembled media after the game. Take a look for yourself:
I'm gonna go with "probably not". First of all, it's stunning that there wasn't a whistle here, or even the invocation of everyody's favourite rule, intent to blow. The puck was loose, but there's no way the official could have seen that from his vantage point.
Yet somehow he knew it wasn't frozen, giving Wiliams the time to shove Stalock backwards, and with him, the puck.
Second, I'm pretty sure you're not allowed to do that. Rule 69.6 of the NHL rulebook strictly prohibits scoring goals this way:
In the event that a goalkeeper has been pushed into the net together with the puck by an attacking player after making a stop, the goal will be disallowed. If applicable, appropriate penalties will be assessed.
The counterargument from the league could be that Stalock wasn't pushed into the net, just towards it. But then you have the counter-counter argument, which the league used to disallow that Ryan Callahan goal on Carey Price from the Canadiens-Lightning series.
Recall rule 69.3, which states that, "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." Considering the generous way the rule was applied for Price, you wonder how Stalock is allowed to be shoved into the goal.
But the Sharks don't have time to complain. The reality is, had they put the Kings away long before this, they wouldn't even be in a position to be screwed by the officials at the end of Game 6. And if they can get it done in Game 7 at home, it will immediately cease to matter.
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