scorecardresearch Skip to main content

Jake DeBrusk on the hand-pass ruling that negated a Bruins goal, plus what the rule book says

Jake DeBrusk (right) scored a shorthanded goal in the third period on Friday.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

SUNRISE, Fla. — In a pitched playoff bout where the Bruins and Panthers combined for 12 goals, the greatest momentum swing in a Game 6 shootout came in the form of a seemingly inconsequential brush of a finger.

The Bruins seized their first lead since Game 4 at 8:16 in the second period on Friday, with a shot from Brandon Carlo sailing through traffic and beating Sergei Bobrovsky to give Boston a 3-2 advantage.

But upon video review, Carlo’s tally — which would have been the first by a Bruins defenseman in this first-round series — was scrubbed off the scoreboard because of a hand pass infraction from Jake DeBrusk just seconds earlier.


DeBrusk said he attempted to get up off the frozen sheet at FLA Live Arena, rather than paw the puck over to Patrice Bergeron.

“I wasn’t intentionally trying to pass it, or else I would have got more wood on it,” DeBrusk said following Boston’s 7-5 defeat.

But as he attempted to get back on his skates, DeBrusk’s glove did brush against the puck in front of him, with the skittering biscuit subsequently scooped up by Bergeron en route to Carlo’s eventual (overturned) tally.

The Panthers challenged, and the officials ruled in favor of Florida.

“I was kind of talking with the official and we were kind of laughing about it, because it was like my fingertip or something,” DeBrusk said. “So I don’t know how that’s — it is what it is. They obviously looked at it and they called it what it was.”

Rule 79.1 in the NHL rulebook addresses hand passes.

Hand Pass – A player shall be permitted to stop or “bat” a puck in the air with his open hand, or push it along the ice with his hand, and the play shall not be stopped unless, in the opinion of the on-ice officials, he has directed the puck to a teammate, or has allowed his team to gain an advantage, and subsequently possession and control of the puck is obtained by a player of the offending team, either directly or deflected off any player or official.


DeBrusk said that he doesn’t have much of an issue with hand passes being enforced, especially in the postseason.

Still, it was a brutal break for the Bruins, who relinquished a goal to Aleksander Barkov just minutes after Carlo’s goal was taken off the scoreboard.

“I think it was Timo Meier had one in the playoffs with [Erik] Karlsson,” DeBrusk said of other hand passes in the playoffs. “That was a blatant one. Would actually say I generally agree with it, but to have that go against us and then they score not even a minute or something later — it’s a tough two-goal swing there.”

DeBrusk’s breach of the NHL rulebook was far tamer when compared to Meier back in 2019.

Still, DeBrusk isn’t one to be surprised about overturned goals whenever officials turn to video review.

“I think any time that they challenge a play — whether it’s a high stick, goaltender interference, you look at the replay and you kind of dissect it frame by frame,” DeBrusk said. “So, I mean, it was my fingertip. But it is a game of inches. And it’s one of those things where we just talk on the bench and go from there.”


Boston Globe Today Sports | April 28, 2023
Watch today’s full episode of Boston Globe Today Sports from April 28, 2023

Conor Ryan can be reached at