Controversy over possible illegal hand pass clouds Sharks’ OT win over Blues

Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington (50) and defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (27) argue after giving up a target to the Sharks in additional time of Sport Three. (Jeff Roberson)

As soon as Erik Karlsson’s overtime goal gave his Sharks a 5-4 win Wednesday over the Blues, St. Louis players began pleading with the officials. They were adamant San Jose benefited from an illegal hand pass, and replays indicated they had a strong case, but the play was not reviewable, and the visiting Sharks were able to take a 2-1 lead in their Western Conference finals series.

In a sequence that unfolded deep in the Sharks’ offensive zone, San Jose’s Timo Meier appeared to bat the puck toward teammate Gustav Nyquist, who quickly pushed it to Karlsson. The veteran defenseman whipped a shot through the pads of Blues goalie Jordan Binnington 5:23 into overtime, setting off a jubilant celebration by the visiting Sharks while their opponents howled in protest.

Asked at his postgame news conference if he thought there was a hand pass on the play that beat his team, Blues Coach Craig Berube turned the question around, asking reporters, “Well, what do you guys think?” Hearing a response in the affirmative, Berube said, “Okay, then don’t ask me.”

Told that reporters wanted to know what he had to say about it, Berube replied: “Nothing. I have nothing to say about it.” He added that it’s “difficult to lose in overtime in the playoffs, anytime,” but that “the team’s gotta move on.”

The relevant NHL rule regarding hand passes has this to say: “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.”

That appeared to be the case with Meier, as the Sharks certainly gained an advantage, but his act was missed by the two referees and two linesmen, and it could not be reviewed by replay officials in Toronto. If Meier had batted the puck directly into the net, that would have been subject to review, and the goal likely would have been overturned. But as it was, the Blues had little recourse other than to make clear their frustration.

“I really didn’t 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,” St. Louis defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said of the officers after the sport. “However that’s all I’m going to mention about it.”

Making the loss all of the extra painful for the Blues used to be that they’d two times rallied from two-goal deficits and held a one-goal lead with simply over a minute left in legislation. Then again, the Sharks’ Logan Couture tied it at Four-Four with 61 seconds left, after San Jose pulled its goalie, Martin Jones, to position an additional skater at the ice.

Jones made 28 saves on 32 photographs, whilst Binnington stopped 27 of 32 photographs. Karlsson had two targets altogether, as did teammate Joe Thornton, with David Perron tallying two times for St. Louis, which additionally were given targets from Vladimir Tarasenko and Alexander Steen.

St. Louis must regroup in time for Friday’s Sport Four at house. In the meantime, some Blues fanatics couldn’t lend a hand however understand Wednesday that Meier used to be formally credited with an help on Karlsson’s game-winner.

At his information convention, Sharks Trainer Peter DeBoer responded a query in regards to the conceivable hand move through pronouncing, “Yeah, you realize, fast play. I’m no longer going to remark at the officiating. We discovered a approach to win a recreation.”

“It used to be a recreation of momentum swings, and the ones fast little performs occur in every single place the ice,” DeBoer added. “A few of them get known as, some get ignored. We discovered a approach to win.”

Karlsson addressed a query in regards to the game-winning collection through telling newshounds, “Smartly, we weren’t enjoying handball, had been we? So we had been enjoying hockey. I feel we deserved to win this recreation, and on the finish of the day, I feel that neither workforce drew the fast stick on any of the calls available in the market, so it used to be an excellent recreation.”

It wasn’t the primary time the Sharks have benefited a great deal in those playoffs from officiating many discovered questionable. In a first-round Sport 7 in opposition to the Vegas Golden Knights, San Jose used to be down Three-Zero within the 3rd duration when a debatable five-minute penalty used to be known as in opposition to Vegas’s Cody Eakin for a cross-check; the Sharks used their guy merit to attain 4 targets and in the end gained that contest in additional time.

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