'That's insane': Loss on disputed goal has Red Wings fuming

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Florida Panthers centers Denis Malgin (62) and Vincent Trocheck (21) pile on top of left wing Jonathan Huberdeau after Huberdeau scored the winning goal.

Sunrise, Fla. — There’s been a trend of head-scratching, controversial goalie interference — or not — calls around the NHL the past few weeks.

The Red Wings were caught in such a maddening play Saturday and it cost them at least one crucial point in the standings.

Florida’s Jonathan Huberdeau scored with 7.7 seconds left in regulation — on a play the Red Wings felt Huberdeau interfered with goaltender Petr Mrazek — giving the Florida Panthers a dramatic 3-2 victory.

The goal was analyzed by the review center in Toronto and upheld, much to the amazement of the Red Wings.

BOX SCORE: Panthers 3, Red Wings 2

“That’s insane they called that a goal,” forward Justin Abdelkader said. “That was an easy one, I thought. It’s frustrating.”

Abdelkader said he and captain Henrik Zetterberg got different explanations from referees, only adding to the confusion of what exactly is goaltending interference these days.

Mrazek, too, felt confident the interference would be called, saying he was bumped by Huberdeau, who Mrazek felt, didn’t allow him to have an opportunity to make a save.

“There was a shot from the blue line and I just tried to come out,” Mrazek said. “I didn’t think Greener (defenseman Mike Green) pushed him (Huberdeau) at all inside. I lost the puck and I lost (balance) because he (Huberdeau) bumped me in front and he got the rebound for (himself).

“Real disappointing and real upset. We should have had a win.”

Huberdeau didn’t know which way the call was going to go.

“I saw on the Jumbotron he pushed me a little bit and I knew I was close to the goalie but whenever he pushes you, it should be a good goal,” Huberdeau said. “Fortunate it happened but you never know these days. Goalie interference this year has been either way. I’m just glad we got a nice two points tonight.”

Like Red Wings players, coach Jeff Blashill is bothered by the hazy nature of the interference call over a short period of time

“Just from one week ago, a week ago there’s no chance (that’s a goal),” Blashill said. “Over the All-Star break they had lots of conversations. It’s changed in a week and that’s the hard part. Any time you change things mid-course, it’s hard for us to know exactly what the standard is.

“It’s certainly changed.”

Said captain Henrik Zetterberg: “The inconsistency in this league right now, if it’s the refs or it’s the guys in Toronto, suspensions or the fines, it’s hard for us as players letting know what rules we’re playing under. The point's real important. On a call like that, yesterday it could have been goalie interference and tonight’s it’s not.”

The loss ended a modest two-game winning streak for the Red Wings (21-22-8).

The Red Wings offense consisted of two goals from newfound goal-scorer Danny DeKeyser, who has three in the last two games.

Frans Nielsen and Darren Helm had assists on both DeKeyser goals. Helm has five points (one goal, four assists) in the last two games.

DeKeyser tied the score 2-2 with his second of the game at the 3:00 mark of the third period.

Nielsen’s shot was turned aside by goalie Harri Sateri, but the puck went straight to DeKeyser, who was charging the net and got just enough of his stick to push the puck past Saleri.

But then Huberdeau broke the tie, only after the Panthers had pressured the previous shift, too.

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“We got hemmed in our end for two shifts in a row and gave up some real chances,” Blashill said. “They probably should have scored the shift before. We have to do a better job in those situations and not get hemmed in.”

But, instead, they lost on an unclear call.

“A week ago I would have said for sure that was no goal,” Blashill said. “This week it looks like everything is a goal.

“It’s frustrating right now.”