The New York Islanders can use every point possible in their quest to make the playoffs. That's why having a goal waved off after video review from the NHL's Toronto office is going to sting a lot.
Here's a look at the play, and it is a tricky one.
The puck definitely goes off of Vanek's skate, but it is less clear that it was a “distinct kicking motion” which is what it would have to be to be overturned. The officials on the ice called it a goal, which gave more leverage to the Islanders in that situation, but Toronto thought otherwise.
Here's the official explanation from the NHL:
At 3:45 of overtime in the Blues/Islanders game, video review determined that New York's Thomas Vanek used his left skate to kick the puck into the St. Louis net. According to Rule 49.2 "A goal cannot be scored by an attacking player who uses a distinct kicking motion to propel the puck into the net." No goal New York Islanders.
What makes this tricky is that the puck is clearly propelled toward the net by Vanek's skate, but it doesn't appear to be intentional. Especially when you consider that Alexander Steen's skate is pushing Vanek's toward the post.
It'd be tough to say this was an easy decision for the War Room in Toronto, but it's hard to find the "distinct kicking motion" which always seems to be open for interpretation.
The Islanders are currently six points out of a playoff spot at this point. They're still in striking distance, but losing a point in this manner has to be crushing and probably enraging.
The Blues actually scored with 27 seconds remaining in regulation in a furiously-played third period in which St. Louis had 14 shots on net. So the Islanders were that close to winning in regulation as well. New York native Kevin Shattenkirk scored the shootout winner to grab the extra point for St. Louis.