Waved-off goal costs Flyers in loss to Devils

New Jersey's Travis Zajac scores past a prone Steve Mason.
New Jersey's Travis Zajac scores past a prone Steve Mason. (STEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer)
Posted: March 13, 2014

If the Flyers miss the playoffs by a point, they will look back with disdain at what transpired with 40.1 seconds left Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

Scott Hartnell appeared to score at that point, but the goal was disallowed because referees ruled that the Flyers left winger pushed New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur into the net.

The Devils survived, 2-1, before a howling sellout crowd that booed lustily as referees Tom Kowal and Mark Lemelin skated off the ice after the game.

Hartnell collided with Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov and bounced into Brodeur as the puck went into the net.

"Volchenkov put all his weight onto me," Hartnell said. "If you see it 100 times, you would say it's a goal."

After the goal was disallowed, it was announced that the play would be reviewed by NHL officials in Toronto.

But the NHL quickly ruled that it was not a reviewable play and that the referee's call on the ice would stand.

According to Rule 78.5: "Apparent goals shall be disallowed by the referee when a goaltender has been pushed into the net together with the puck after making a save."

"It's a 50-50 play. It could have gone either way," coach Craig Berube said.

Said Flyers captain Claude Giroux, whose team went 0 for 6 on the power play: "I'm not going to blame the refs. That's a tough call . . . but it's frustrating."

Former Flyer Jaromir Jagr scored the decisive goal. The 42-year-old right winger muscled his way out front and scored on a backhander with 12 minutes, 18 seconds left to snap a 1-1 tie.

After taking a behind-the-goal-line pass from defenseman Marek Zidlicky, Jagr got position on defenseman Mark Streit and beat goalie Steve Mason to the short side for his 21st goal.

It was the 702d career goal for Jagr, who set up the Devils' first score and now has a team-best 57 points.

Brodeur, another aging wonder, made 30 saves and notched his 50th career victory against the Flyers, who suffered their first regulation loss in their last five games (3-1-1). They fell into a virtual tie for third place with Columbus in the Metropolitan Division.

Brodeur said the right call was made against Hartnell.

"I'm not saying he did it purposely. I think [Hartnell's] momentum threw him into me," Brodeur said after allowing one goal or none for the 29th time in his 50 wins against the Flyers.

Brodeur, 41, the winningest goalie in NHL history, allowed a rather soft goal, enabling the Flyers to tie the score at 1-1 47 seconds into the second period.

Defenseman Nick Grossmann scored from near the boards beyond the left circle - his first goal of the season and first in 75 games. The shot ticked off the stick of the Devils' Michael Ryder and changed direction ever so slightly.

For the second straight game, the Flyers had a sluggish first period and had to play catch-up.

With defensemen Streit and Andrew MacDonald out of position, Jagr made a slick, short feed to Travis Zajac, who patiently waited for Mason to go down before lifting the puck into an open net with 12:04 left in a Devils-dominated first period.

Flyers winger Jake Voracek was seething about the late call after the game.

"They were driving the net together," he said of Hartnell and Volchenkov. "I'm not going cry here about a call; we lost the game and we had six power plays and could have scored a goal. But with [40.1] seconds left you have to be damn sure to make that call if it's like that."


scarchidi@phillynews.com

@BroadStBull

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