You won't see a filthier, more illegal goal in the NHL this season (but it counted!)
The goal in question probably should never have even happened, as the New York Rangers trailed the Minnesota Wild 3-1 with under 10 minutes to play. But the Rangers mounted an impressive comeback, cutting the lead to 3-2 with 8:09 remaining and then tying the game with 66 seconds to play.
That forced overtime, which featured its usual, helter-skelter action. Both goalies stood tall, keeping it a 3-3 game and sending it into a dreaded shootout. The Rangers shot first, and Mika Zibanejad buried a backhander to go up 1-0. After a miss by Minnesota's Ryan Donato, New York head coach David Quinn sent out his best player, Artemi Panarin, to try and give the Rangers all the momentum.
On the all-time shootout percentage list, which requires skaters to have a minimum of 10 attempts, Panarin ranks 2nd, having gone 13-for-22 prior to Thursday night. He has the hands of a god, and he showed them off as he drew closer to Wild goalie Alex Stalock. It was an absolute dangle fest, but it went too far, as Panarin appeared to go slightly backwards before finding the back of net, which is illegal. You be the judge:
As you can see, Stalock was immediately incredulous. It seems pretty clear that Panarin went backwards, especially after looking at the overhead angle:
Yep. No way he didn't go backwards. But after video review, it was upheld, and the Wild missed on their ensuing shootout attempt, giving the Rangers the victory. Tough way to lose for the Wild, who would have been two points back of a Wild Card spot had they won. Minnesota fans have every right to be upset, but I think Twitter user @hunters174 said it best in the replies:
Damn right. If refs are going to suck as bad as they do in every sport, they might as well just let the sickest-looking plays stand as called. I'm all for this. Yes, I'm also a Rangers fan. But I also believed this shouldn't have counted. Can't be more unbiased.