If there’s any edict in the NHL rulebook that deals in shades of grey, it’s the one with regards to goals being scored with a “distinct kicking motion.”
In what has been one of the most heated Western Conference finals in the past decade, the Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks entered Game 7 Friday night and, no matter the final score, at least one of the contest’s goals will be shrouded in controversy.
With Chicago up 3-0 with little more than six minutes left in the second period, Brad Richards got a partial break with pressure on him from the Anaheim defense. After Richards shoveled the puck on goal, Marian Hossa drove to the net and had the puck careen off of the instep of his skate and behind Ducks goaltender Frederik Andersen.
On the ice, the play was called a goal and, after a short review, the officials awarded Hossa the goal. Take a look:
From the NHL’s Situation Room: “At 13:45 of the second period in the Chicago Blackhawks/Anaheim Ducks game, video review supported the referee's call on the ice that the puck deflected off Marian Hossa's skate and into the Anaheim net in a legal fashion. According to Rule 49.2 'A puck that deflects into the net off an attacking player's skate who does not use a distinct kicking motion is a legitimate goal.' Good goal Chicago.”
The goal gives Hossa tallies in back-to-back games and his 13th point of the post-season, which is quite a change in fortunes for the 36-year-old. It took until the fourth and final game of Chicago’s second round series against the Minnesota Wild for Hossa to find the back of the net for the first time this post-season, and he’s managed three more goals since in seven games since then.
Hossa’s 13 points are one shy of his production in the 2013-14 playoffs, in which he scored two goals and 14 points.