Everyone should agree on this: Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final has offered fans across the National Hockey League the easiest "goaltender interference" call of the entire season. No one should disagree with what the officials have decided during the first period of the third contest of the final series.
Well, of course, the Washington Capitals might not be overly happy about it, but everyone will say this is the first time this season there is no doubt about a call made on the ice.
For the entire season, goaltender interference calls were heavily criticized by fans, players and head coaches. It came to this: the league ’s Board of Governors approved changes to Rule 78.7 (ii) Coach’s Challenge - Goaltender Interference, changes that were recommended by the NHL's general managers at their March meeting and subsequently approved by the NHL/NHLPA Competition Committee.
Since then, the league has assigned a former referee to be present in the Situation Room in Toronto during all games. With the addition of those former referees, the Situation Room consult with the on-ice officials — but have taken over the right to make the final call on goalie interference.
However, they weren't needed on Saturday night. The officials on duty made the right call on the spot, and no one argued.
On the play, Caps forward came in close to Vegas' goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and caught him sharply in the head. Fleury fell to the ice and the puck past the goal line. DSP celebrated with his teammates but the referee disallowed the goal right away on the ice. Smith-Pelly argued the call, but was subsequently sent to the box for goalie interference.
Fleury appeared shaken up on the play, but remained in the game and even got in a small argument with Smith-Pelly once he returned to the ice.
After the review and penalty, there was no doubt the officials have made the right call on a penalty that was controversial all season long. Many NHL insiders applauded the call and noted it was the easiest of the entire season.
Bravo to the referees for getting this one right, right away!