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Why Mike Ribeiro goal counted after Marc-Andre Fleury lost mask

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PITTSBURGH | Mike Ribeiro’s first-period goal for the Washington Capitals at the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night stood, even as goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury’s mask came off just before the puck went in.

Ribeiro said during an intermission interview on Comcast SportsNet that he thought the officials would blow the play dead and the goal would be disallowed.

Here’s why that didn’t happen: The NHL rule book has a caveat to the idea that the play is dead when a goalie’s mask comes off.

Rule 9.5 states: “When a goalkeeper has lost his helmet and/or face mask and his team has possession of the puck, the play shall be stopped immediately to allow the goalkeeper the opportunity to regain his helmet and/or face mask. When the opposing team has possession of the puck, play shall only be stopped if there is no immediate and impending scoring opportunity.”

Tomas Kundratek’s shot and Ribeiro’s rebound was an immediate and impending scoring opportunity. It did not matter that Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik appeared to unintentionally knock Fleury’s mask off with his stick.

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