Alain Vigneault was steaming Thursday night after his challenge that Carolina’s Elias Lindholm interfered with Antti Raanta was unsuccessful. He won’t be any happier on Friday.
The explanation Vigneault received Thursday — that because Raanta’s face was outside the blue paint when Lindholm made contact with Raanta’s mask on the game-tying goal in the third period, it was “involuntary contact” and not interference — was backed by the NHL on Friday.
According to a league spokesman, the call was correct because a skater is entitled to space in the white, and Lindholm didn’t back into Raanta or extend his arm.
Vigneault said he was “100 percent sure” he was right that Raanta was interfered with while expecting the league to back the referees’ decision. Referee Francois St. Laurent made the initial call on the ice of a good goal.
“You ask the league that. But they’re gonna spin it any way so that they look all right, and that’s the way it always is,” Vigneault said after the Rangers’ 4-3 loss in Raleigh.
Raanta’s skates were in the blue paint while Lindholm was outside the crease when his left arm made contact with Raanta’s mask. Raanta said, “My mask is on my nose. It’s pretty tough to see the puck anymore after that” on Sebastian Aho’s tying goal at 9:04 of the third.
“If I can’t be on top of my crease, should I be on my goal line, or what should I do?” an upset Raanta wondered afterward. “It’s hard to say right now what I should do there differently.”
Aho scored another power-play goal 3:24 later for the final goal of the game.
“It was obviously a turning point,” Ryan McDonagh said of the tying goal standing. “We didn’t handle it the right way, either. You’ve got to have a strong shift right after they score against us and we let them make plays in the o-zone.”
* * *
The Rangers on Friday sent goaltender Brandon Halverson back to the ECHL Greenville Swamp Rabbits. Halverson was recalled Thursday on an emergency basis to be the Rangers’ backup as Henrik Lundqvist was ruled out with a lower-body injury. Lundqvist is day-to-day. The Rangers were off Friday before a scheduled Saturday practice ahead of Sunday’s game in Detroit.
Published at Fri, 10 Mar 2017 19:00:20 +0000