You could see it on the replays that NBC Sports Chicago was showing during the postgame show. The broadcasters didn’t mince words in calling the decision “garbage.” And then Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau more or less confirmed to The Athletic’s Scott Powers what many of us had already suspected: The Blackhawks got screwed on Calgary’s game-winning goal.
To set the scene, the Blackhawks lost Tuesday night after the Flames scored a goal late in the third period to take the lead for good. The shot, which originated from defenseman Michael Stone’s stick, slipped through traffic. The Situation Room initiated a review of the play for a potential high-sticking deflection by Gaudreau.
The goal was upheld based on a quick video review. It was the second huge call to go against the Blackhawks in an eventual 3-2 loss. Even now at the time of publishing, the goal is still awarded to Stone.
Here’s what the NHL said of the referees’ decision:
“At 16:30 of the third period in the Flames/Blackhawks game, video review supported the Referee’s call on the ice that Michael Stone’s shot entered the Chicago net in a legal fashion. Good goal Calgary.”
However, video reviews shown after the game show pretty clearly that the puck indeed deflected off Gaudreau’s stick. And then he told left us no doubt based on his comments to Powers.
“No, no, I got a tip on it,” Gaudreau said. “But whoever gets it, it’s not the end of the world. It’s a big goal for us, big win because of how close we are in the standings with these guys. I was really jacked up.”
(Seriously, look at the picture above. Does that not look like a guy who knows he’s celebrating his own goal?)
So now we’re left with a call that not only was made incorrectly on the ice, but then went to a video review, where the referees got it wrong again. AND then, on top of that, the NHL confirmed that incorrect review in its official statement on the decision, claiming that Stone scored the goal when his own teammate says he in fact deflected the puck.
The NHL didn’t even say that Gaudreau actually deflected the puck below the crossbar. It straight up missed that he did it, when the fact that he did likely should’ve negated the goal. His admission is a clear sign that the system isn’t working as designed.
The Blackhawks have a lot of problems right now, so we can’t really pin the team’s issues on stuff like this. The team puts itself in positions where close calls mean everything in the world, and that’ll leave you empty-handed a lot in a league where it seems like every call is a crapshoot.
But that still doesn’t excuse situations like the Flames’ game-winning goal Tuesday night, which almost definitely should not have counted.