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Breaking down weird goal by Maple Leafs’ Giordano vs. Sabres

Breaking down weird goal by Maple Leafs’ Giordano vs. Sabres
Breaking down weird goal by Maple Leafs’ Giordano vs. Sabres

Mitchell Marner was skating toward Buffalo’s net on a breakaway in the first period on Saturday night when the Toronto Maple Leafs forward decided to do something a little different.

Instead of a nifty deke or a shot, Marner — who was being pursued by Sabres forward Alex Tuch — dropped the puck back to teammate Mark Giordano. While the puck was travelling back to Giordano, Tuch slid and knocked the net off, and he also made contact with Sabres goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen.

Giordano, meanwhile, got a shot off that grazed Luukkonen’s moving pad, but crossed the goal-line while the net was way off. And then Giordano pointed at the spot where the net should’ve been to let everyone knew he thought it was a goal.

This all happened in a couple seconds. A video is worth a thousand words:

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Initially, a penalty was called on the play, but upon review that call was reversed and it was deemed a goal, putting the Leafs up 3-0 near the end of the first period. It was Giordano’s first of the season, and a short-handed goal, to boot.

Kevin Bieksa doesn’t think it should’ve counted. On the Hockey Night in Canada broadcast on Sportsnet, Bieksa compared it to scoring on a fake net in his grandparents’ basement back when he played mini sticks with his siblings. Jennifer Botterill, on the other hand, agreed with the goal call, since the puck did cross the goal line.

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The NHL determined after a video review “that the puck crossed the Buffalo goal line between the normal position of the goal posts and that Mark Giordano had an imminent scoring opportunity prior to the goal posts being displaced.”

That’s in accordance with Rule 63.7, which states a referee may call a goal if a defending player knocks the net off and there’s an “imminent opportunity.” It’s up to the referee to decide if the puck would have gone into the net were the goal posts in their usual position.

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