CHICAGO — It was the goal that didn’t count that might have been the biggest of the night for the Chicago Blackhawks.
Just 1:10 after Patrick Sharp had given the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead in what was a dominant first period, Chicago looked to be closing in on a second score when forward Marian Hossa appeared to have jammed in a rebound after center Jonathan Toews had come around from behind the net.
The puck crossed the goal line, but the goal was immediately waved off. The referees said the whistle had blown. There was little argument from Chicago, but the play was reviewed and the call stood after being checked out in the league offices in Toronto.
In a posting on the NHL Situation Room Blog, the league said, “The referee had blown the play dead prior to Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa pushing the goaltender’s pads and the puck across the goal line.”
It was the second time this postseason that a disallowed goal came at a crucial point for Chicago. In Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals, defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson launched a rocket by Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard in the waning moments, only to have it waived off as the referees called coincidental penalties moments before. The Blackhawks went on to win that game in overtime.
Hossa described Saturday night’s play as he was battling for space while the action was ongoing.
“I saw the loose puck and I tried to put my stick on the puck and I felt the puck was crossing the line but the referee said he blew the whistle,” he said. “They went upstairs and decided no goal.”
Hossa, who had seven shots on the evening, did not put up much of an argument after the game.
“I didn’t hear the whistle but there was noise in the building so I don’t know if the referee [blew] the whistle or not,” he said. “They decided and we have to move on.”
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was not eager to discuss the ruling after the game.
“He said his intention was to blow the whistle,” he said.
Toews said the play was a product of a Chicago offense that came out firing in the first period. The Blackhawks rolled to a 19-4 shot advantage.
“I’ll see the replay,’’ Toews said of the disallowed goal. “You’re trying to score ugly goals like that and the whistle blows pretty quick and he was quick to call it off. It’s frustrating, you wish that you’d get breaks like that. It just goes to show, it’s something you need to keep doing. You need to keep working on getting those second and third chances in tight.
“I thought the whistle blew a little early but when [the referee] doesn’t see the puck, that is what he is going to do.”
After that play and certainly after the first period, the Bruins leveled out the action and Chicago was unable to put another puck past Tuukka Rask.
“We were doing the things we had to do. That is why we had that chance,” Toews said of the first period. “Unfortunately it didn’t go our way. We needed to keep doing that and we didn’t really do it.”