The offence was so blatant, even Colton Orr's own coach didn't deny it was a badly missed call by the officials.
"Colton took the goalie out, it should have been a penalty, to be honest," Leafs coach Ron Wilson said shortly after Tuesday's 3-1 win over the Florida Panthers. "But they didn't see it, so you take what you can get."
The Panthers, meanwhile, were understandably livid that the winning goal was tallied after netminder Scott Clemmensen had been given a substantial bump by Orr.
"I think the replay speaks for itself," said Clemmensen, who was told by the referee that he was outside his crease on the play. "There's really not much to say about it. I don't believe it was a legitimate goal. I'm not going to sit here and embarrass anyone, but I believe it was an illegitimate goal, it should have been disallowed.
"He tackles me to the ground and then they shoot the puck in the open net. I think the replay clearly shows that. It's frustrating because it changes the outlook of the game. There's about eight minutes to play, after that goal goes in it changes the complexion of the game. All of a sudden we have to press.
"It's a momentum changing play. It's frustrating because it's one thing to lose; it's another thing to lose in that fashion."
An irate Panthers coach Peter DeBoer said there were several calls missed in the game, a tight-checking affair that looked headed for overtime early on.
"It's obvious I don't know what goalie interference is, I don't know what hitting from behind is, I don't know what interference is," DeBoer said. "I need to call the league and get myself a tutorial on what exactly those penalties are because if that's not a hit from behind in the first period on (Dmitry) Kulikov and then goalie interference, then I obviously don't understand the description of the rule.
"It's unfortunate. You've got 40 guys battling hard on that ice on both teams. Games shouldn't be decided that way."
Wilson mentioned that Leafs netminder Jean-Sebastien Giguere was slightly intefered with on the Panthers' goal in the second period, a play that saw a Florida player "click" skates with the goalie before a puck from the point went in.
"Obviously Colton's was [worse]" Wilson said. "He kind of ran over [Clemmensen]and I guess the puck must have hit his rear end or something [to give Orr the goal] It was going in anyway."
Orr, meanwhile, is always a very reluctant participant in interviews and wasn't all that quotable on the incident.
"I was just throwing the puck out front and then trying to get to the net," he said quietly. "I don't know, just kind of bumped around by a few guys. I didn't try and do any contact."
Giguere added that the referee's mistake made on the winner is simply one of those things that can happen in a game.
"I thought they should have called mine [interference on Florida's first goal]and I'm sure they feel that they should have called theirs," Giguere said. "So we're even.
"Nothing good comes out of complaining to the referee too much because at the end of the year, it should even out at some point."
Incredibly, after being credited with his second goal of the season on that play, Orr now has more goals than all but three Leafs: Phil Kessel, Clarke MacArthur and Tim Brent.
One Leaf did break his goal drought, however. Tyler Bozak's power play marker late in the first left him visibly relieved to contribute his first of the season after answering questions on that front the past week.
"I thought I better put this one in or I don't know what this year's going to be like," Bozak said, laughing. "I think it makes you a lot more confident [to finally score]and you always play better when you're more confident, not squeezing the stick a little tight."
Wilson didn't provide much of an injury update on Colby Armstrong, who left the game after his first shift with what the team was calling an "upper body injury." Speculation at the rink is that he injured his arm or hand on the play, a suspected slash early in the first period.
"We'll send him for an MRI and we'll know more tomorrow," Wilson said. "He could be [out for a while]but we won't know until the doctors are able to figure it out. It's hard to do that here during the game. If we need to bring up a player, we will. We won't know on that until the morning."
It remains unclear how Armstrong was injured.
"We're not really sure what happened," Wilson said. "It could have been a slash, but it wasn't intentional."Report Typo/Error