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NHL playoff scores 2016: Offside coaches challenge under fire after Blackhawks upset Blues

The league's newest rule played an important factor in deciding a playoff game.

Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports

Imagine this scenario, if you will, for a moment. It's overtime of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. Pick your teams. Doesn't matter.

What does is Team A scores a goal in overtime and the celebrations begin. But hold on, the head coach of Team B challenges the play to see if Team A was offside on the play. The review process begins. Clips of the play filter onto your television screen. The angles are useless since they aren't dead over the blue line, but there seems to be no conclusive evidence to overturn based on various factors.

The process stretches out for minutes as Team A halts their celebrations. The referees confer and finally come to a decision. They overturn the call. By a toe.

Minus the when, the exact same scenario played out for the Blues in a crucial time. A tied 1-1 game against the Blackhawks on Friday night was broken by Vladimir Tarasenko in the dying minutes of the game, but the goal was called off by the closest offside call this rule has seen.

Was the call the right one? Yes, Jori Lehtera looks to be in before the puck. The replays seen on television don't have the blue line cameras, so the best we see are the side angles of the play. According to the letter of the law, the officials got it right by the angles they saw.

But, is the letter of the law something that should be applied to offside? Of course, there are the egregious ones that get missed -- Danny Briere's goal versus the Penguins or the Lightning's double overtime winner in last year's playoffs come to mind. However, is the sport better off for calling otherwise legal goals off on the smallest of offside margins?

No sport calls completely to the rulebook. Hockey is no different and if it was, we'd be watching four or five hour long hockey games with the amount of stoppages. Officiating games is a delicate balance, and one that has yet to have been struck with the coaches challenge on offside calls.

It was really only a matter of time until we saw the new coaches challenge for offsides turn a pivotal game in the playoffs. The challenge system for offsides has already come under fire during the regular season, and this only adds fuel to the blaze for a revamped rule.

Until then, we can only hope that the challenge doesn't strike in a more pivotal moment than what transpired on Friday, and that officials get it wrong instead.


Lightning 5, Red Wings 2
Panthers 3, Islanders 1
Blackhawks 3, Blues 2
Predators 3, Ducks 2

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3 things we learned

1. The Red Wings frustrations are starting to show

Down 2-0 in the series, no doubt the Red Wings are feeling the pressure. Sure, the series is headed back to their turf, but the few games they've played against the Lightning so far have had an edge to them that only the Capitals and Flyers have really matched.

Once again, the Red Wings and Lightning tussled, and this time things got bloody.

2. Reilly Smith is hot, hot, hot for the Panthers

The 25-year-old has three goals and two assists in just two games versus the Islanders in this series. His goal within the opening minutes was a big reason why the Panthers were able to even up the series at 1-1 on Friday. Not only that, Smith is outperforming his previous playoff experiences.

3. Are the Capitals missing former draft pick Filip Forsberg yet?

Because he was all over the ice in the Predators' 3-2 win in Anaheim.

Impact Moment

It was a real big night for butts, specifically butt saves.

First Danny DeKeyser's rear end accidentally stopped an early Lightning goal.

Then Ryan Ellis got in on the backside action with a sliding save to keep the Predators and Ducks close.

Stat of the Night