For a goal to be scored, the puck must entirely cross the goal line between the posts and under the crossbar of the goal frame. A goal does not count if it is sent into the goal from a stick raised above the height of the crossbar. A goal also does not count if it is kicked or thrown into the goal. A goal that is accidentally redirected off a player does count, but if it enters the net directly after touching an official, it does not count. If the goalie is impeded from preventing the goal by an attacking player, the goal does not count. A goal can also be disallowed if the scoring team had too many men on ice at the time of the goal or if it was scored with a broken stick.
In many leagues, a goal does not count if a player from the attacking team has a skate or stick in the goal crease before the puck. The NHL abolished this rule after the disputed triple-overtime goal in the 1999 Stanley Cup Finals. Brett Hull of the Dallas Stars scored the series-clinching goal against the Buffalo Sabres. On video replay, it was clear that Hull's skate was in the crease prior to the puck. But the NHL correctly allowed the goal because as Hull scored on his own rebound, he maintained possession and control of the puck throughout; thus as the rule was written and interpreted at the time, he was allowed to be in the crease.
The overall amount of goal scoring is also closely watched. In recent years, goal scoring has decreased. Many believe the game is less entertaining because of this, and blame the change on the increasing size of goaltending equipment and the advent of defensive systems such as the neutral zone trap. Fans of defensive hockey counter by saying the high scoring of the 1980s was an anomaly, and this shift represents a return to the norm. For the 2004-05 American Hockey League season, four major rule changes were made that were intended to increase the scoring in games and make it more popular among casual fans -- (1) increasing the size of the attack zones by narrowing the neutral zone two feet each side and thus moving the goal line back two feet, (2) restrictions on the goaltender playing the puck, (3) permitting offside players to negate the penalty by "tagging up" with the blue line, and (4) changing the offside rule by permitting passes which cross the center line and one blue line (but not between both blue lines in certain restrictions). The AHL rules were slightly modified and adopted in the NHL and ECHL for 2005-06, when the NHL returned after the lockout.
If a hockey player is last to touch the puck before it enters his own team's net — which in football (soccer) is called an own goal — credit for the goal goes to the last player on the scoring team to have touched the puck.
Other phrases include a garbage goal, for a goal scored more as the result of luck or opportunism than skill, and a breakaway goal for a goal scored when a player has gotten behind the defenders to face the goaltender alone.
A quinella occurs when a player scores an even strength goal, a power play goal, a shorthanded goal, a penalty shot goal, and an empty net goal. Mario Lemieux scored the only quinella in NHL history against the New Jersey Devils on December 31, 1988.
The two teammates of the scorer who last touched the puck before him, provided that no opponent touched it in between, are each credited with an assist. Assists and goals count equally to comprise a player's statistical scoring total.
Any puck heading towards the net is counted as a shot. When the goalie prevents the shot from entering the net, he is credited with a save.
In every NHL arena, an air horn, train horn, boat horn, or siren blares after each home team goal. This has been a trend since the 1990's.