The word "frustrating" has been used in this space and elsewhere on a number of occasions to describe Anaheim's 2011-12 season, but frustration reached a whole new level last night.
In a hard-fought battle with the defending champion Bruins, the Ducks appeared to get the tying score with 12:38 left in the third, when Matt Beleskey
one-timed a shot from the circle through an Andrew Cogliano
screen and past goalie Marty Turco. And although it was immediately ruled a goal on the ice by referee Brad Watson right behind the net, the four officials conferenced afterward and overturned the call. It should be noted that there was not replay review, only the officials discussion, since goaltender interference is not a reviewable offense under NHL rules. Still, it left the Ducks, their fans (among the 17,395 in attendance) and especially Bruce Boudreau absolutely incensed.
Here's the whole thing:
The announcement from PA announcer Phil Hulett was, "No goal. Player in the crease." But being in the crease is only an infraction if a player "maintains a significant position in the crease impairing the goalkeeper's ability to defend his goal." Although Cogliano never made contact with Turco, officials decided he interfered with Turco's ability to make the save.
Cogliano: "At the end of the day, I didn’t touch him whatsoever. "I didn’t know it was goalie interference. I asked the linesman and he said he thought maybe I was impending him from making a save. I thought he was kind of set before the puck went in. The puck was already going in before he was trying to make a save. That is just how it goes."
Boudreau: "There was no explanation given to me. None ... Sure, they got another goal. We would have played completely different if there was a 2-2 tie with 10 minutes to go. We would have tried to take into overtime because one point to us is really important right now."
Indeed, the call hurt even worse when Brian Rolston scored on the rush six minutes later to put the Bruins in front 3-1. And even though the Ducks crawled back on a Lubomir Visnovsky
goal with 2:29 left, that was as close as they would get.
The loss left the Ducks on the brink of official elimination, but not quite there, as games from around the league could seal it over the next two nights. But a victory would have been a third straight gratifying one for Anaheim, which slowed the rival Sharks' playoff climb last Monday night, then knocked off the NHL-best Blues on Wednesday. Now the Ducks look at these final six games, starting back here Wednesday night against those same Sharks, this way:
"We'll continue doing what we we're doing, which is playing hard," Boudreau said. "We get a chance to stop San Jose. Let's prevent them from making it. Let's do whatever we can to win.
"There's a lot of character in that room. So let's show the world (why) we had one of the better records in the NHL from the beginning of January."