Hi Kerry: On the Panthers game winning goal in this game, should Matheson have been penalized for interference for checking Severson before he passed the puck to Barkov?
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The finishing body contact delivered by Florida Panthers defenceman Michael Matheson that took down Damon Severson of the Devils is deemed a continuation of a legal battle between the two players. As such, no interference penalty was warranted on the play.
Matheson was a real workhorse on game winning goal in overtime when he carried the puck along the wall, deep into the Devils end zone. Matheson then lost the puck against the boards at the goal line in a battle with Devils defenceman Damon Severson. Matheson didn’t quit on the play and gave chase as Severson reversed direction below his goal line and behind his net. Matheson then employed a reach and active stick to cause Severson to lose puck possession.
As the screen grab below demonstrates, the momentum of both players moved them beyond the puck and resulted in a shoulder to shoulder physical engagement. Through contact, Matheson maintained a stronger posture firmly planted on both skates, while Severson dug into the ice with his right skate and pushed back in the direction of the puck. This is deemed to be a legal physical battle between two willing combatants.
The end result of this strength on strength battle occurred when Matheson extended his left arm with body momentum and knocked his off balance opponent, Severson to the ice. This is a hockey play.
This physical battle is a continuous hockey play and not deemed to be an interference infraction.
Matheson regained possession of the puck behind the net and set up Aleksander Barkov for the OT winning goal.