Real estate is all about location, location, location. For a referee, it’s all about positioning, positioning, positioning. Sometimes, though, even good positioning turns out to be bad.
Referee Eric Furlatt was in a great position to watch the play, but the wrong position for an unfortunate deflection. The puck caromed off the crossbar, catching Furlatt up high. It dropped to the ice in the faceoff circle, setting up Winnipeg Jets forward Paul Stastny for a clear shot into a nearly empty net.
Playing the puck off the official is perfectly legal, though a goal that enters the net directly off a referee or linesman will be waved off.
Rule 85.4 covers pucks off officials:
Play shall not be stopped if the puck touches an official anywhere on the rink, regardless of whether a team is shorthanded or not.
A puck that deflects back into the defending zone off an official who is in the neutral zone, will be deemed to be off-side as per Rule 83 – Off-side.
The puck striking or deflecting off an official does not automatically nullify a potential icing.
When a puck deflects off an official and goes out of play, the ensuing face-off will take place at the face-off spot in the zone nearest to where the puck deflected off the official.
If a goal is scored as a result of being deflected directly into the net off an official, the goal shall not be allowed.
Stastny’s goal was the eventual game winner.
Thankfully, Furlatt appeared to avoid serious injury, somehow managing to even signal for the goal on the play. He remained in the game.