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So, Why Did the Florida Panthers Lose a Goal Saturday?



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In the second period on Saturday, Dmitry Kulikov hit Tampa Bay’s Conor Sheary as the puck was heading toward Josh Mahura in the slot; afterward, the officials talk about it and eventually pulled Mahura’s goal off the board. // Roger Lee Photographer (561) 866-2000

SUNRISE — At 3:38 of the second period Saturday, the Florida Panthers thought they had pulled to within two goals of the Tampa Bay Lightning when defenseman Josh Mahura jumped on a loose puck and scored from the slot.

While the Panthers’ goal song reverberated throughout the arena, a melee broke out between the two teams stemming from a hit Dmitry Kulikov put on Tampa Bay’s Conor Sheary as the puck was heading onto Mahura’s stick.

Although the two referees on the ice did not initially call a penalty on Kulikov, once the combatants were separated and order was restored, the four officials — including the two linesmen — gathered to talk about what had transpired.

After consulting, referee Eric Furlatt announced Kulikov was assessed a 5-minute major for a high hit to the head.

By hitting Kulikov with the 5-minute major instead of a 2-minute minor, the play would be reviewed on video to see if it was worthy of such distinction.

After reviewing the play, Kulikov was given a 5-minute match penalty which means ejection from the game.

Because Kulikov’s infraction happened before Mahura even had a chance to score, the goal was waved off.

The goal song went to waste.

Tampa Bay still led 3-0 and got a 3-minute power play as well.

So, what happened?

Although referees make the calls on the ice, linesman Jonny Murray immediately pointed in Kulikov’s direction before jumping in to help break up some of the fights that broke out in the aftermath.

When the four officials gathered to talk about it, one of the responsibilities of the linesmen is to give their account of what they saw to the referees: Furlatt announced that Kulikov got the 5-minutes. Tampa Bay’s Michael Eyssimont got 2-minutes for roughing.

After looking at it on the video review tablet kept at center ice, Furlatt announced Kulikov was charged with an illegal check to the head and a 5-minute match penalty, which ended his day.

On Sunday, NHL Player Safety announced Kulikov will have a discipline hearing on Monday.

They could have rescinded the call if the officials decided Kulikov’s hit on Sheary was not worth a penalty.

In that case, the goal would have stood.

Even had Kulikov’s penalty been downgraded to a minor, it still happened before the goal went in and it would have been disallowed.

Aside from taking away the goal, what irked the Panthers was there was no immediate call on the ice from the two referees.

One — Furlatt — watched the puck go into the net and made the original goal call; Frederick L’Ecuyer was not able to see it.

Murray, however, was around the blue line and had a perfect vantage point to see Kulikov cruise through the slot and hit Sheary high — either with his forearm or elbow.

He appeared to be skating over to inform Furlatt of Kulikov’s hit but the fights breaking out on the ice slowed that meeting of the minds.

Furlatt eventually made the call.

That is certainly within the rules — and is part of the linesman’s responsibility.

Florida panthers

According to the Official NHL Rulebook, Section 32 defines the duties of the Linesmen stating (32.2) they are generally responsible for calling violations of off-side (Rule 83) and icing (Rule 81). They may stop play for a variety of other situations as noted in sections 32.4 and 33.5 below.

That, includes 32.4 which is Reporting to Referee – The Linesman shall give to the Referees his interpretation of any incident that may have taken place during the game. 

The Linesman must report upon completion of play, any circumstances pertaining to:

(v) Major penalties (Rule 20)
(vi) Match penalties (Rule 21)
(vii) Misconduct penalties (Rule 22)
(viii) Game Misconduct penalties (Rule 23)
(ix) Abuse of Officials (Rule 39)
(x) Physical Abuse of Officials (Rule 40)
(xi) Unsportsmanlike Conduct (Rule 75)

Should a Linesman witness a foul (above) committed by an attacking player (undetected by the Referees) prior to the attacking team scoring a goal, the Linesman shall report what he witnessed to the Referees, the goal shall be disallowed and the appropriate penalty assessed.

Florida coach Paul Maurice, in the moment, did not seem too upset with the review and overturn of Mahura’s goal.

After the 5-3 loss, he had said reviewing a penalty which was not originally called on the ice to disallow a goal was a first.

Mahura said he had never been in a game where that had happened, either.

“No. Never seen one of those,” Maurice said. “That’s the beauty of the National Hockey League; they’ll always surprise you with something, eh?”

Added Mahura: “I didn’t really see what happened there but it was obviously unfortunate we couldn’t get that one. … I would have to go back and look, but I don’t think so.”

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  • When: Thursday, 7:30 p.m.
  • Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise 
  • Streaming ONLY: ESPN+, Hulu
  • Radio: WPOW 96.5 FM-2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app
  • Season Series (Florida Leads 1-0) — At Nashville: Panthers 4, Predators 1 (Jan. 22). At Florida: Thursday.
  • Last Season: Nashville won 2-0
  • All-time Regular Season Series: Florida leads 22-14-6, 3 ties
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Saturday, March 23 at New York Rangers, 8 p.m. (ABC)

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