It was not the most handsome goal Patrick Sharp has ever scored, but the Dallas Stars winger started a little bit of a firestorm with his first goal in more than a month.
Sharp's near breakaway attempt in the first period was initially stopped by Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask and then bounced around in the crease off Rask and Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid, who inadvertently sent the puck careening toward his own goal line.
In what appeared to be a desperation attempt to cover the puck, Rask and McQuaid combined to knock the net off it's moorings in the moments before the puck crossed the goal line. The referee emphatically signaled goal on the ice, and after a lengthy review, the call was confirmed. You can see the highlights in GIF form below.
this is a goal because McQuaid "knocked the net off on purpose as the puck was going in the net"......3-1 Stars pic.twitter.com/8CJKpEh38c— Stephanie (@myregularface) February 21, 2016
That may have been what the referee said, but the most important part of this ruling is that intention of the defending player does not matter.
Here is the rule from the 2015-16 NHL Rulebook, under the Delay of Game penalty, which is where things about knocking the net off its moorings are covered:
So in this case, the goal was definitely knocked off by the defending player, the puck had been shot long before the net came off, and the puck obviously was in the normal bounds of the goalmouth. It's a good call all the way around.
For what it's worth, this rule was originally introduced with intention being a factor, but that has been removed in the somewhat recent past (I can't find evidence quickly, but it was before the most recent lockout, and maybe even the previous one). So some of the confusion is understandable.
Regardless, the ref made the right call in this case as all the criteria for an awarded goal were clearly met.
If only they could come up with such clear criteria for goalie interference...