As damaging as it is to the tank effort, there is no denying that this recent streak of Montreal Canadiens hockey has been very entertaining. Defeating the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night, they earned their seventh win in their last 11 games, nearly equaling their win total from the previous 45 contests.
In the process, I’d argue that they exposed a flaw in the NHL rulebook as it pertains to offside challenges.
The Oilers used two challenges to overturn goals scored by the Habs in that game. The second made the most sense of the two, as the offside in question happened immediately before Laurent Dauphin put the puck over the goal line.
The first, however, overturned a beautiful Nick Suzuki goal around half a minute after the offside in question.
Nick Suzuki uses an Oiler as a screen, then snaps his 13th of the year by Mike Smith pic.twitter.com/68s3EygMcv— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) March 6, 2022
Suzuki ended up scoring shortly after play was restarted, so it didn’t impact the result of the game, but it did expose a flaw in the rule. Adding 30 seconds back to the clock for an offside that didn’t directly influence the goal slowed down a very fast-paced game, and could have impacted the result if not for Suzuki getting right back on his horse.
On the Dauphin goal, it made plenty of sense to disallow, since the offside was immediately prior to the puck going in. The NHL needs to decide how much offensive zone time could — or should — negate a preceding offside call missed by the officials. 30 seconds seems like a lot of time to wind back when the missed line call had no direct impact on the goal itself.
That being said, you definitely don’t want to be allowing missed line calls to lead to goals, so it is a tricky situation. I think the league needs to take a hard look at this issue and decide how long the advantage of a missed offside actually lasts.
Such a change wouldn’t just benefit the Habs over the Oilers on one Saturday night, but the sport as a whole.
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