Uproar on social media over controversial 1st goal in Game 4

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The Tampa Bay Lightning got on the board in just 36 seconds in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup final against the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday. And the ensuing controversy emerged just as quickly on social media.

Lightning forward Anthony Cirelli put a rebound home past goalie Darcy Kuemper, even though his mask had just fell off. Fans were shocked that the goal counted and sounded off on social media.

But according to Rule 9.6: When a goalkeeper has lost his helmet and/or face mask and […] the opposing team has control of the puck, play shall only be stopped if there is no immediate and impending scoring opportunity.

Kuemper still had his mask on when Lightning forward Alex Killorn first shot at him, but once he lost control of the puck, his mask got knocked off on the following shot. Cirelli jumped on the rebound in an “immediate and impending scoring opportunity", which explains why the goal counts. 

The Avalanche’s coaching staff was however well aware of the rule and did not challenge the play.