Flyers Senators Hockey

Ottawa Senators defenseman Johnny Oduya, front left, looks back to see Philadelphia Flyers right wing Wayne Simmonds screen Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017 in Ottawa, Ontario. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press via AP)

Adrian Wyld

The NHL on Friday defended a controversial call that prevented a Philadelphia Flyers goal from being reviewed late in their frustrating 5-4 loss Thursday night in Ottawa.

With 56.2 seconds left, Sean Couturier jammed the puck into the net on a wraparound, apparently tying the score.

Then confusion reigned.

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The NHL’s Situation Room initiated a video review to see if the puck had crossed the goal line. It did.

But referee Steve Kozari told the Situation Room that he was in the process of blowing his whistle when he lost sight of the puck while it was under the skates of Senators goalie Craig Anderson.

Hence, under NHL rules, the play was not reviewable, the league said.

“I’m not sure I can add much to the explanation you already got from the league,” Bill Daly, the NHL’s deputy commissioner, said in an email Friday.

“The referee had the play dead on the ice before it went into the net because he lost sight of the puck. That call is not reviewable by video review.”

The “intent to blow the whistle rule” was modified a few years ago, however. Rule 38.4, Section VIII, says the “video review shall be permitted to assist referees in determining the legitimacy of a potential goal” under certain circumstances. It says “this would also include situations whereby the referee stops play or is in the process of stopping play because he has lost sight of the puck and it is subsequently determined by video review that the puck has crossed the goal line ... as the culmination of a continuous play where the result was unaffected by the whistle.”

If you read the above explanation, it sounds as if the Flyers were cheated out of a goal.

Daly disagreed.

“The ‘continuous play’ exception is for pucks entering the net on the same shot — not when the puck subsequently enters the net before a stoppage may be appropriate,” he said.

Couturier scored on a rebound of his own shot, so it could be argued it was a continuous play by the center.

The NHL rule, under 38.4, Section VIII, does not mention anything about pucks entering the net on the “same shot.”

Daly said he has consulted with “various members” of the league’s hockey operations department “and they are all comfortable the rules were applied properly — even if they might not like the ultimate result.”

The Flyers also saw a third-period goal, scored by Brandon Manning, disallowed because a video review determined Jordan Weal had interfered with Anderson.

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