SAN JOSE, Calif. — Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury wasn’t sure if Logan Couture prevented him from being in position to stop Evander Kane’s third-period goal Monday in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals.
But coach Gerard Gallant believed there was contact and called for a challenge. The decision, of course, fell to NHL operations staff in Toronto, where officials ruled Kane’s goal was good to cut the Sharks’ deficit to 3-2.
The league plans to bring clarity to goaltender interference in the offseason. But until then, the eight teams left in the playoffs will have to deal with the ambiguity of the rule that has changed the complexion of several games this postseason.
Fleury said the next time the NHL does anything to redefine the parameters of goaltender interference it should get the opinion of one group with a vested interest.
“I think it would be good to ask our opinion,” Fleury said. “We’re the ones involved.”
Sharks goaltender Martin Jones said he’s fine with the way the system works.
“I don’t know. I think they’ve done the best job they can,” Jones said. “You’re not always going to get the call you want. That’s just the nature of the game, but I’ve got no issues with it right now.”
Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said having the hockey operations people take over the decision-making from the referees has been a positive move.
“I think they’re getting it right, which is good,” he said. “Whatever changes they’ve made, they’re getting it right.”
The NHL actually has a former goaltender — Kay Whitmore — on its staff. Fleury likes that.
“I think it’s good to have someone watching who has played the position,” he said.
So far, there have been three challenges in this series, two by the Knights, neither which was overturned. The Sharks’ one challenge resulted in Jonathan Marchesault’s overtime game-winning goal in Game 2 being taken off the board.
Gallant said Tuesday he’s not worried about who is monitoring the challenges.
“They’re doing the best the can,” he said. “They really are. There’s lots of NHL people there and all those calls are close.
“There’s going to be controversial calls. The thing is for me and my group is you move on. Some calls you’re not going to be happy with, some calls you will be happy with. At the end of the day, they’re going to make the call. You can’t worry about the call. You’ve got to keep playing.
“They’re good people doing their job. They don’t care who wins.”