Had Steven Stamkos' penalty shot been ruled a goal by referee Rob Martell, it would have counted because there was no conclusive video evidence to the contrary, NHL hockey operations chief Mike Murphy said in an e-mail:
"If the ref calls it a goal, it would have stood."
Stamkos seemed to have goaltender Kari Lehtonen beat with 8:09 left in the third period of Tuesday's game with the Thrashers. But Lehtonen lunged and gloved the shot.
Replays reviewed at the league offices in Toronto showed Lehtonen's glove past the goal line but the puck hidden. Because, as Murphy said, "I have not seen any video that can prove it was a goal, the whole puck over the line," the on-ice ruling stood and Atlanta kept its 2-1 lead en route to a 3-1 victory.
Murphy said the same inconclusive video would have failed to overturn the play had Martell ruled it a goal.
"My comment is, it's a goal," Lightning coach Rick Tocchet said after viewing newspaper photos that seemed to indicate the puck was past the line. "Sometimes (the league) gets it right. Sometimes they get it wrong."
"We make our decisions based on the camera angles and information we have at the time of the play," Murphy said. "Everyone seems to love to produce still photos the next day, trying to prove hockey operations wrong. Again, we make our decision with the information we have at the time of the review."