NHL executive vice president Colin Campbell admitted the league made a mistake on the controversial play that led to the conclusion of Game 3 between the San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night.
“That was the wrong call," Campbell said on Sportsnet's Hockey Central at Noon. "It should’ve been a whistle if the referee had seen it live.”
With the contest in overtime, Sharks forward Timo Meier made an illegal hand pass that led to San Jose's game-winner. The pass went undetected by the officials, and under the NHL rule book, it wasn't a reviewable play.
"It's so unfair that the game ended that way," Campbell added. "The wrong way.
"Yes, you could probably use (Rule 38.4(ix)) but I think it has to be a discussion (before expanding use of that rule)."
Rule 38.4(ix) allows the league to "assist the referees in determining the legitimacy of all potential goals (e.g. to ensure they are 'good hockey goals'). For example (but not limited to), pucks that enter the net by going through the net meshing, pucks that enter the net from underneath the net frame, pucks that hit the spectator netting prior to being directed immediately into the goal, pucks that enter the net undetected by the referee, etc."
This wasn't the first time in these playoffs a non-reviewable play has caused a game to end in contentious fashion.
Trailing 3-0 with 11 minutes left in Game 7 of their opening-round series against the Vegas Golden Knights, the Sharks were awarded a five-minute power play after forward Cody Eakin was called for a controversial cross-checking major. San Jose scored four goals on the power play and won the game in overtime.
The Sharks recaptured home-ice advantage over the Blues and now lead the series 2-1 with Game 4 set for Friday night in St. Louis.