I said it when Detroit beat New Jersey and I’ll say it again tonight: The Red Wings caught a break.
Tonight, the Senators appeared to tie the game with about eight minutes left when Chris Neil jammed the puck past Jimmy Howard. There’ll be an uproar about this one and some of it is right.
Howard made an initial save and the puck was under him. Neil jumped in and knocked it loose and into the net. In the time that the puck was under Howard, the referee deemed play to be stopped but he didn’t blow the whistle until after the puck was in the net.
It’s an infamous “quick whistle” combined with the dreaded “intent to blow” rule.
From a technical standpoint, the call was the right one. The ref lost sight of the puck so he had to blow play dead. He was slow on the whistle so “intent to blow” comes into play.
The explained call was wrong, however. After replay – which shouldn’t have mattered as the call was not reviewable – it was announced that the goal was called back because Howard was pushed into the net with the puck.
Much as in the New Jersey game, this simply did not happen.
Quick decision to stop play? Weak but explainable. “Intent to blow” rule? No one seems to like it but it’s in play here. Goalie pushed into the net? Absolutely not the case.
The call that was explained was wrong and the call that appeared to actually be made was weak. The Wings lucked out.