The San Jose Sharks might just be a team of destiny.
After all, they benefitted from an all-time awful penalty call that was levied against Vegas in the third period in Game 7 of that dramatic opening-round series — without which they likely would not have advanced. They also benefitted from a controversial offside challenge in Game 7 against second-round opponent Colorado. And now, on Wednesday night, the Sharks beat the St. Louis Blues in overtime to take a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference Final thanks to a horrible missed call that went in their favour.
As you can see at the top of the page, Erik Karlsson scored 5:23 into overtime after receiving a pass from Gustav Nyquist. The only problem is Nyquist only had the puck because he was the recipient of a blatant hand pass from Timo Meier — both players were awarded assists on the goal.
All four officials missed the call and since it’s not a reviewable or challengeable play, the Sharks left the ice with the 5-4 victory.
Goalie Jordan Binnington knew right away it was a hand pass, as did the other Blues on the ice. The officials convened by the penalty boxes to discuss what had just occurred but since there was nothing within the rulebook that could overturn the goal, it stood and the game ended.
Blues players yelled and slammed their sticks against the boards and glass, while fans rained down boos and debris as the referees and linesmen were escorted off the ice.
“I didn’t really get an explanation other than I guess there’s a different set of rules for two different teams so I’m sure they’ll lose some sleep tonight after looking at it,” Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo told reporters at Enterprise Center.
“I’m not going to comment on the officiating,” Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. “We found a way to win a game. Quick plays happen all over the ice, some get called, some don’t.”
Behind the scenes, Blues general manager Doug Armstrong wanted to give the officials a tongue lashing.
This is what section 79.1 of the NHL Rulebook has to say regarding hand passes:
“Hand Pass – A player shall be permitted to stop or ‘bat’ a puck in the air with his open hand, or push it along the ice with his hand, and the play shall not be stopped unless, in the opinion of the on-ice officials, he has directed the puck to a teammate, or has allowed his team to gain an advantage, and subsequently possession and control of the puck is obtained by a player of the offending team, either directly or deflected off any player or official.”
What makes this loss even tougher for the Blues to swallow is the fact they battled back from a 2-0 first-period deficit, scoring four in the second stanza and did so with a compromised blue line after Vince Dunn left the game with an upper-body injury.
David Perron, who scored two of his team’s goals, said it was an “unacceptable” way for the game to end but did his best to take the high road.
Blues supporters were understandably irate and even neutral hockey fans took to social media to voice their frustrations with the blown call and stringent video review rules.
Here’s an extremely small sample of the outrage.