Referee Don VanMassenhoven's 1,000th-game as an NHL official was one for the books.
For the first time in league history, a referee had to scrap a penalty shot because moments earlier a goal was scored by the opposing team that wasn't apparent until the video of the play was reviewed.
The bizarre play was critical because it turned the tide for the Pittsburgh Penguins in their 4-1 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday.
With the game tied 1-1 and the Penguins on the power play late in the second period, Alexei Ponikarovsky created a turnover at the Toronto blue-line and went down the ice on a breakaway. He was hooked by Pittsburgh defenceman Sergei Gonchar and VanMassenhoven instantly awarded the Leafs forward a penalty shot.
But as the officials gathered around the penalty box, it became apparent that Gonchar's shot from the point moments before Ponikarovsky's breakaway was being reviewed.
The video replay clearly showed the Gonchar's shot went into the back of the net past Toronto goalie Jonas Gustavsson.
"I had no idea it was in," said Gonchar, who returned to the Penguins lineup after missing four games with an undisclosed injury.
Ponikarovsky could not be awarded a penalty shot because a league rule stipulates that there can't be two goals scored at the same stoppage in play. Instead, Gonchar was given a hooking penalty.
The Leafs failed to score in their man-advantage situation, but Gonchar stepped out of the penalty box to slam home his second of the game.
"It's never happened before," Toronto coach Ron Wilson said. "I understand the rule, but to me it's flawed logic.
"Why can't you score? This happened just a little later on. Their goal counts. They would have scored at one point and we would have scored at one point."
The exhausted Leafs were playing their fourth game in five nights. But Wilson was proud of the fact that they mustered 43 shots on Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.
What the Leafs coach neglected to point out was that many of his team's chances came after Penguins captain Sidney Crosby undressed Toronto defenceman Tomas Kaberle for his 27th goal of the season early in the third period a three-goal Pittsburgh lead.
The Leafs, who have surrendered the game's first goal in 33 of their 46 contests this season, fell behind early on Bill Guerin's goal that banked in off his skate. After Matt Stajan scored a power-play goal later in the opening period to tie the game, the Leafs' penalty-killing unit let down its team once again with the Gonchar goal.
"The way he manages the puck and the way he shoots it, and he proved it with his shot tonight that he's tough to stop when he gets the puck," said Crosby, when asked about Gonchar's importance to the Penguins.
The Penguins have the league's worst power play, but Gonchar managed to score on the NHL's worst penalty-killing unit. The Leafs have to get better in man-disadvantage situations because they aren't scoring enough goals to bail out their poor penalty-killing unit.
Phil Kessel hit a post, but he has only scored once in 12 games after scoring 13 times in his first 22 games.
The Leafs have dropped five of their past six games, while the Penguins temporarily stopped a slide that saw them lose six of their previous seven games.
"Nobody has panicked here," said Gonchar of the defending Stanley Cup champions. "We're still focused on what we need to do."