DALLAS –The referee knew the puck was in the net. What he needed to know was how and when it got there.
He never got an answer, so Sam Reinhart and the Sabres were out of luck.
The NHL on Friday provided further explanation to The Buffalo News about the most debated video review during the Sabres' 4-3 loss to Dallas.
Reinhart and linemate Jack Eichel both pointed to the puck in the net after Reinhart's shot with 8:54 to go. Sure enough, the puck was across the goal line after netminder Kari Lehtonen stood up. After Lehtonen kicked it back across the line, the officials went to the phones.
According to the league, no camera angle could determine when the puck entered the net. That was important because the referee had blown the play dead once the puck entered Lehtonen's gear. When the referee spoke to the video room, he wanted (and needed) to know whether they could conclusively state that the puck entered the net on the original shot.
The video officials could not determine that, so the ref's ruling that he killed the play before the puck entered the net stood.
"There’s no question the puck ends up in the net," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. "It’s unrefutable. It’s there. It’s in the net. Everyone can see that.
"The question is the goalie goes in, he goes on his side and he falls into the net. No one can see the puck until he gets up. It’s after the play."
The officials certainly looked for a while. It was a very lengthy review, going at least five minutes.
“I’ve never seen them that long," Dallas defenseman Jordie Benn said.
The Stars' game presentation crew had fun during the delay:
*A camera panned down the line of Stars Ice Girls. They all had a dismayed look on their face – and the final woman was on the floor curled up in a sleeping bag.
*The DJ played soft, melodic music, and the fans shown on the scoreboard slowly moved their arms from side to side, as if in a trance.
*Finally, just before the officials' call ended, Dallas just shut off the scoreboard and ribbon board to save electricity.
"The fans got really funny there for a bit, and they even turned the jumbotron off because it was so long," Benn said. "But it went in our favor, so I’ll wait as long as I have to as long as it goes in our favor.”