Referees miss blatant hand pass before Sharks' Game 3 winner

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Let the referees handle the calls, they said.

Inevitably, the debate over the usage and obvious limitations of video review will rage on in the Stanley Cup Playoffs after a blatant hand pass was undetected seconds before Erik Karlsson scored the overtime winner for the San Jose Sharks in Game 3 versus the St. Louis Blues.

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Replays confirmed that the Sharks’ Timo Meier knocked the puck down toward teammate Gustav Nyquist before it was fed across to Karlsson, who found a hole through Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington a little over five minutes into the bonus period.

After the goal, the officials talked things through while the Sharks celebrated with caution — and with one eye on the refs. The four-man team heard the angry protests from Blues players and fans, but ultimately headed toward the exit after ostensibly explaining that the play could not have been reviewed.

And they were right. Much like a puck sent over the glass or a major penalty, a hand pass can not come under further scrutiny as per the NHL’s current and obviously flawed rulebook.

With frame-by-frame analysis at the blue line and pile-ups in the crease leading to so much guesswork over the plays that are actually reviewable throughout the regular season and playoffs, it’s been made abundantly clear that revisions to the current rules system are required.

Many have argued that scrapping review entirely is the only way to fix a clearly broken challenge system, but instances like the hand pass that led to Karlsson’s Game 3 goal contend that offering up more to be subject to video review is required to deliverable equitable results.

A fix for this has to be the focus this offseason, and Blues general manager Doug Armstrong would agree:

Nonetheless, as the missed calls adding up seem to be continually benefitting the Sharks, it was another example of the team’s resilience in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Logan Couture tied a franchise record with his 14th goal of the postseason when bringing the Sharks level with under a minute left in regulation, which ultimately forced the controversial overtime frame.

The Sharks took back home-ice advantage with the win, and have moved to within a pair of victories of returning to the Stanley Cup Final after losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016.

A subdued goal celebration for Erik Karlsson. (Getty)
A subdued goal celebration for Erik Karlsson. (Getty)

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