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2024 Stanley Cup Final

Panthers, Oilers React to Controversial Offside Call that Changed Game 6

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Florida coach Paul Maurice is not pleased when Sasha Barkov’s goal in the second period was pulled off the board following Edmonton’s successful offside challenge on Friday night. (Photo by Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire)

Just 10 seconds after Adam Henrique scored to give the Edmonton Oilers a 2-0 lead early in the second period of Game 2, Panthers captain Sasha Barkov cut his team’s deficit in half.

Florida, after showing little signs of life in the first and even less to kick off the second, were right back in this thing.

Then came the challenge.

Edmonton coach Kris Knoblauch challenged that Sam Reinhart was offside as Carter Verhaeghe brought the puck into the zone.

After a lengthy review, Barkov’s goal came off the board.

Florida coach Paul Maurice was livid when the goal was erased.

After the game, he had calmed down a bit and explained that the official came over and told him that the last angle officials saw showed Reinhart was definitely offside.

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Maurice said he did not think he was provided with that angle.

Did they get it right?

“I have no idea. It may well have been offside,’’ said Maurice, whose team lost 5-1. “The linesperson informed me that it was the last clip that they got where they made the decision that shows it’s offside. I don’t have those.

“So, the video I got on my bench, so I was upset after the call based on what I see at my feet, what my video person looks at. There was no way I would’ve challenged that if it was reversed. there was no way I thought you could conclusively say that was offside. I don’t know what the Oilers get, I don’t know what the league gets. I just know that when I would’ve had to have challenged that based on what I saw, I would not have challenged.

“I’m not saying it’s not offside. We’ll get still frames, bring in the CIA, we’ll figure it out. But in the 30 seconds that I would’ve made that call, I would not have challenged.’’

Reinhart did appear to be offside, but it was by the thinest of margins.

He was still offside.

“It was offside, so it doesn’t count,’’ Barkov said. “We had our chances after that. We had our chances to get to 2-1 goal, but then they got 3-0.’’

As for whether he knew it was offside in the moment, Barkov — like everyone else — was stumped.

“Not in real time,’’ he said, “but I guess it was offside, so that’s it.’’

Added Verhaeghe: “It sucks that it didn’t go our way, but that’s above my head. I don’t know. They obviously get the right call. I’m sure it was the right call if they’re watching a million replays.”

The goal being pulled off the board did not keep the Panthers from winning on Friday night; the game would have been 2-1.

But, it did change the momentum of things. Instead of being down 2-1, the Panthers remaining down 2-0.

“You’re looking for a jumpstart at that point,’’ Maurice said. “The shots are 11-2 in the first period so we need something. I think it ended up 11-4 in the second period, scored on two of them. It would’ve been a spark for us, for sure. [Barkov’s] next goal was. I thought we had a little bit of juice there after that but it was unfortunate that it was called back.’’

Knoblauch said he thought Reinhart was offside right away, but waited until his video team saw other angles and told him this was one worth reviewing.

If they were wrong, Florida would have kept the goal and gone right on the power play down 2-1.

Momentum, certainly, could have quickly swung toward the Panthers.

With the way Edmonton’s penalty kill has been crushing Florida lately, perhaps it was not as big a gamble as first thougth.

“Our process starts with our video coaches … then we talk about it on the bench,’’ Knoblauch said. “I actually didn’t think it was that close. We were actually going to call it right away and we had a little more time to review it and were like, ‘OK.’ The only hesitation was maybe there wasn’t the right video. In my mind it was definitely offside, but I guess you never know. It was something I wanted to challenge almost immediately when I saw it.”

Said Leon Draisaitl: “It was very tight. I personally thought it was the right call, but you never know. Knoblauch has the right touch. He knows what he’s doing and he seems to make the right decisions a lot more often than not. That was a big one.’’

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