There's much that is right about how the NHL awards points on goals scored, but the official system has one noteworthy flaw.
An example of the problem came on Jordan Eberle's winning goal against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday. Early in the third period, with the score tied 1-1, Montreal's P.K. Subban hammered the puck into the Edmonton Oilers zone, right at goalie Nikolai Khabibulin. Khabibulin blocked it, but knocked it back into a dangerous position, right onto the kill floor, the slot area, where most goals are scored in hockey.
Two players, Montreal's quick centre Scott Gomez and Edmonton heavy hitter Theo Peckham, reacted fast. Peckham barely won the race for the puck, then made a quick touch pass up the ice into open space and close to two teammates, Andrew Cogliano and Taylor Hall. The dynamic Hall gobbled up the pass, then avoided a big hit from a miscalculating Subban. Cogliano, Hall and Eberle raced the puck up ice, Eberle finishing off a deft pass from Hall with an extraordinary shot, putting it just under the Montreal goalie's armpit from a sharp angle.
Eberle's shot was the kind of special play that has raised hopes with Oilers fans, even as the season has become a quagmire of losses. It all started by an initial skill play, a much less heralded but still significant one -Peckham's tap pass. In the official NHL records, Hall, Eberle and Cogliano all were rightly awarded points on the play. But Peckham was wrongly denied a point.
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