NHL fans confused as Lightning score after Avalanche goalie Kuemper loses mask
Tampa Bay Lightning's Anthony Cirelli #71 scores a goal against Colorado Avalanche's Darcy Kuemper #35. (Photo by Mike Carlson/NHLGetty Images)
It wasn't long before the Tampa Bay Lightning was on the board against the Colorado Avalanche in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals Wednesday night. The Bolts took the lead in just 36 seconds, with the goal causing quite a stir on social media.
Lightning striker Anthony Cirelli rebounded past Darcy Kuemper and the goal counted despite the Avalanche goalie's mask falling off.
Because according to Rule 9.6, "If a goaltender has lost his helmet and/or face mask and [...] the opposing team is in control of the puck, play will only be stopped if there is no immediate and imminent scoring opportunity."
Kuemper was still wearing his mask when Lightning forward Alex Killorn shot him for the first time. The Avalanche goalie made an impressive save but couldn't control the puck. Kümper's mask was knocked off by the following shot and Cirelli lunged for the rebound. The piece is a perfect example of an "imminent and imminent scoring opportunity".
However, not everyone is aware of the rule, and it didn't take long for fans to take to social media to react.
Unlike many fans, the Avalanche coaching staff was well aware of the rule and didn't question it.
The game could have been dangerous and Kuemper picked up a facial injury earlier in the postseason. In Game 3 of the first-round series against the Nashville Predators, Ryan Johansen's racquet slipped through the protective bars on Kuemper's mask and caught his eyelid. He missed the fourth game of this series due to the injury.
It was the second time in his NHL career that Kuemper was accidentally stabbed through his mask by a stick blade. It's understandable that he was worried about playing on the Lightning's first goal in Game 4.
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