On Sunday night the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning were tied up at one in the second period of a fast-paced game. Down 2-0 in the series, the Lightning badly needed a win. And, it looked like they had just opened up a 2-1 lead on a chaotic flurry of a play when it happened: the ‘ol “safe” call from the ref. No goal.

Francis Charron ruled that Alex Killorn had interfered with Carey Price, and the game changed. Bolts captain Steven Stamkos took a knee to the grey matter shortly after (he returned in the third), the Habs scored not too long after that, and the Lightning are now down 3-0. It felt like the game swung on the moment below:

It’s never fun when reffing is the focal point in the midst of great playoff action, but it’s not so bad when they get the controversial call in question correct, as I believe they did here.

It wasn’t an easy call, and it’s certainly not a no-brainer, but given the refs’ lack of ability to be able to review goalie interference calls (a point I’ll touch on in a second), they did the best they could.

The rule as it’s written in the NHL rulebook:

69.3 Contact Inside the Goal Crease - If an attacking player initiates contact with a goalkeeper, incidental or otherwise, while the goalkeeper is in his goal crease, and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed.

In a nutshell, there’s a reason the crease exists. Goaltenders are afforded the right, as they should be, to move around freely within that area to tend their goal.

Killorn does everything right on this play: he takes the puck hard to the net (nice), barrels into it thanks to the pressure of the Habs defender (not his fault), gets out of the net as soon as he’s able to (atta guy) taking a route that avoids Price as much as possible. So, not his fault.

But Price does everything right too, and in that blue paint, he gets the benefit of the doubt. He makes a save on a rush where guys are flying towards him, gets knocked out of the net, recovers, and tries to get back in position, but is unable to fully plant his left skate and get set for the next shot.

Did he try to make contact with Killorn? No idea. Could he have stayed on his skates there? Maybe. Was he trying to draw the call there? …We’re just piling up too many questions to safely say that goal should’ve counted.

If you follow the rule to the letter of the law they got it right.

The biggest point to take away from this is that it’s silly we don’t have video review for goalie interference calls. Hockey is an awfully quick game, and you can only be looking so many places at once.

It sucks that it played out with the refs being a factor at such a pivotal moment in such a big hockey game, but they got the call right, and that’s all you can ask for. The problem is, they don’t always, so if the league hopes to avoid more stories like this, potentially even more frustrating ones, they need to get video review implemented on goalie interference calls.