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Today in Philly Sports History: John LeClair’s “No Goal II,” 2000

Apr 14, 2010, 9:00 AM EDT

The Flyers have been on the ass-end of a fair deal of controversial calls in their 40+ years of play in the NHL–none moreso than in 1980, when the Islanders scored a goal in Game Six of the Finals on a play when the team was clearly offsides, leading to a Cup-clinching win. But every so often, the Flyers get to cash in on their built-up karma credit, and the ultimate example of that probably came off the end of John LeClair's stick on April 14th, 2000.

It was game two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Buffalo Sabres. The Sabres were up 1-0 in the second period,when LeClair wound up for a slap shot on the right wing against Buffalo goalie (and five-time Vezina winner) Dominik Hasek. A split-second later, the puck was in the net and the siren went off, but neither LeClair nor Hasek seemed to register that the shot had actually gone in. Despite confusion about how LeClair could have found the angle on Hasek, the goal was ruled as good and the score was tied at 1-1.

The Flyers took a 2-1 lead in the third period on a goal by Eric Desjardins, and ended up winning the game to take a 2-0 lead in the series. But review of LeClair's questionable score on an in-goal camera had revealed that his shot had not actually gone into the net, but rather, through the net–scorching through the twine outside the right goalpost and ending up nestled enigmatically behind Hasek. The referees ruled that too much time had passed since the goal and let it stand, setting Sabres fans–burned just a year prior on the infamous Brett Hull "No Goal"–into an absolute frenzy.

This Sports Illustrated article from that April tells the full story on LeClair's maybe-score in a way far better than I could here. Sample: "[Sabres defenseman Jason] Wooley sarcastically suggested the NHL should revamp the rules, awarding two points for a puck that crosses the goal line from in front, one if it goes in from the side."