ST. LOUIS – The four officials huddled in the penalty area. Most of the San Jose Sharks pulled out in the locker room, confident that Erik Karlsson's goal at 5:23 of overtime had allowed them to win match 3 and lead 2-1 to the series when the final of the Western Conference. None of the St. Louis Blues had left the bench or the ice, believing that there was absolutely no chance that these officials would have missed the hand of Timo Meier of the Sharks who had led to this goal.
But they did it.
They all missed the mark, scoring another final whistle in the playoffs, set by controversial arbitration and arbitration errors. Since the National Hockey League's video viewing process does not include manual passes leading to goals, the Sharks have been victorious. And the Blues were angry.
"I really have not had any explanation other than, I suppose, there is a different set of rules for two different teams, so I'm sure they're going to lose a little bit of sleep." evening after reviewing it, "said Captain Alex Pietrangelo of St. Louis. After the Blues defeated the San Jose 5-4, they were stunned on the bench – at least those who were not on the ice broke their clubs angrily.
A little over five minutes into the extra minutes, Meier slid on the ice, waving his stick against the puck. He deflected the St. Louis defender Colton Parayko jumped into the air, then onto Meier's chest – and he then crushed it with his right glove. Blues defender Jay Bouwmeester kicked his leg to stop him, but he fell into the trap of Gustav Nyquist, who fed the puck to Karlsson for a shot that went over the goalkeeper Jordan Binnington.
The sharks celebrated, and the blues swarmed the officials. Binnington tipped his capture glove up and down to indicate that he had seen a hand pass. The Blues stayed on their bench and on the ice. The other sharks skated to the locker room after the officials said the goal would be maintained.
Binnington slammed his staff angrily. Brayden Schenn did the same, breaking it on the end boards. Many Blues players waved their arms on the bench in disbelief. But the officials left the ice, under the guise of a canopy that protected them from cups and cans that were starting to splash the rink of enraged supporters of the Enterprise Center, who had already seen the hand pass several times. on the giant video screen. .
In the bowels of the arena, one could hear strong anger. St. Louis general manager Doug Armstrong slammed his hand against the officials' locker room door, shouting that the decision was "damned".
What did Karlsson see on the play?
"We did not play handball, did not we?" he said after the match. "We were playing hockey, we deserved to win this game, and at the end of the day I do not think either side or team pulled the shortest stick on any of the calls A fair game. "
The Blues said that they had not received any explanation regarding the call of the officials. Was it a pass?
"What do you think?" St. Louis coach Craig Berube interviewed the media at his post-game press conference.
Some journalists said "Yes".
"So do not ask me," he said. "There is no reason to ask, I have nothing to say about it."
In an official statement, the NHL said, "Games of this nature are not controllable, a pass in the net can be verified, but a pass between teammates can not be verified."
A pool reporter met with Kay Whitmore, the supervisor of NHL officials for the series, and asked if any of the officials had seen the hand.
"What [did they tell] me? It is a non-revisable piece. You can read between the lines. You can understand what you want. You watched the video But it is simply not revisable. I know this sounds like a misleading answer, but that's the truth, "Whitmore said.
Could the Toronto War Room achieve such a critical goal?
"The way the rules are written, every chance that there is to review, everything is reviewable, is reviewable," said Whitmore. "But in the current state of the rules, the game is unreturnable."
As with many other playoff calls, the discussion quickly focused on the question of whether to expand the repetition to include this type of play.
"We'll go, huh?" said David Perron des Bleus. "Yeah, it's a pass for the hand.The league is going to take care of it as it did during the playoffs."
Sharks coach Peter DeBoer was eliminated.
"It's for [commissioner] Gary Bettman and the Directors General. This is not for Pete DeBoer. I am a coach. Want to ask me questions about the game? "He said.
The rest of the match seemed secondary to the call in overtime, but it was a tremendous gathering of the Sharks.
After San Jose built a 2-0 lead in the first period, the second period will remain one of the craziest postseason. Alexander Steen of the Blues scored 1:18 with Ivan Barbashev. Joe Thornton scored his second goal of the game just 18 seconds later. Vladimir Tarasenko scored his first goal since match 4 against the Dallas Stars to reduce it to 3-2. Perron beat Martin Jones at close range to equalize, then scored just behind the blue line with Brent Burns in the box for hanging one of only two penalty points for a 4-3 lead at 18:42. That broke a series of 0 to 18 on the St. Louis power play of the third game of the Dallas series.
He did not break the sharks though. They gave Binnington a lot of chances, the rookie goalkeeper doing the same and standing in the third third. But the playoff game is present in all formations, and the most reliable paladin in the playoffs has again struck: Logan Couture, until then under control in Match 3, concealed a puck past the pad of the door with Jones shot at 18:59 of the third. Couture now has 20 points and 14 goals to lead the playoffs.
"I think it's one of those playoffs, we'll look back in years and say, wow, what competitor, what leader." But when you're in the heat of the moment, it's just what he does, "said DeBoer, who also hailed Jones's play by making 15 saves in the third period and in overtime.
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The Blues tried to quickly turn the page in their locker room, and that was the message that resonated from the coach.
"It's hard to lose in overtime, playoffs, anytime, you have to move on, the team has to move on, we all have to move on and get ready for the fourth game." , that's all you can do, "said Bérubé. "We played a solid hockey game, but we were on the losing side, and we can not do anything about it, we just have to move on."
This atmosphere "hey, things are happening" was also found in the jubilant room of the sharks.
"You know what, you'll get a few calls, you will not get some calls, everybody keeps talking about the pass for the hand, so there must have been something, but at the end of the day, There are calls that go both ways, it's the playoffs, there's adversity, you have to adapt, you'll take it, keep your cool, "said the captain. San Jose team, Joe Pavelski.
"If you get the extra call, great just keep playing, they do not try to fuck anyone, they really are not, they're good guys." That does not always seem like like that, but tonight we may have caught a break, but there were a lot of breaks going both ways all night, all the series. "
One can not help but note the enormity of the breaks that led the Sharks. For the second time in the playoffs, a critical call led to a win in San Jose. In the third game against St. Louis, officials missed a goal that earned them an overtime goal. In the match 7 against the Golden Knights of Vegas in the first round, the Sharks were given a five-minute major that they should not have received. They scored four goals in the third period and then won in overtime.
The NHL apologized to Vegas for this botched call. It remains to be seen if the Blues will receive a similar mea culpa before the fourth match.