The Tampa Bay Lightning quickly hit the board in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night. The Bolts took the lead by just 36 seconds, and the goal caused a buzz on social media.
Lightning striker Anthony Cirelli bounced past Darcy Kemper and the goal was awarded, though the Avalanche’s goaltender’s mask came off.
It’s because, under rule 9.6: “When a goalkeeper has lost his helmet and/or face mask and […] the opposing team is in control of the puck, play shall only be stopped if there is no immediate or imminent goal scoring opportunity.”
Kemper was still wearing his mask when Lightning forward Alex Killorn shot him for the first time. The Avalanche forward made an impressive save but was out of control of the puck. With a follow-up shot, Kemper’s mask flew off, and Cirelli pounced on the ricochet. The game is a perfect example of “an immediate and impending goal-scoring opportunity”.
However, not everyone is aware of this rule, and fans have been quick to respond on social media.
Unlike many fans, the Avalanche coaching staff clearly knew this rule well and did not challenge it.
The game could have been dangerous, and Kemper had already suffered a facial injury early in the postseason. In Game 3 of the first-round series against the Nashville Predators, Ryan Johansen’s stick slipped through the guards on Kemper’s mask and struck his eyelid. He missed the fourth game of this series due to injury.
It was the second time in his NHL career that Kemper had accidentally speared his mask with a stick blade. Understandably, he was worried about continuing with the Lightning’s first goal in Game 4.
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