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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 extra time of Recreation 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 the entire extra painful for the Blues was once that they’d two times rallied from two-goal deficits and held a one-goal lead with simply over a minute left in legislation. On the other hand, the Sharks’ Logan Couture tied it at Four-Four with 61 seconds left, after San Jose pulled its goalie, Martin Jones, to place an additional skater at the ice.

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

St. Louis must regroup in time for Friday’s Recreation Four at house. In the meantime, some Blues enthusiasts couldn’t lend a hand however realize Wednesday that Meier was once formally credited with an lend a hand on Karlsson’s game-winner.

At his information convention, Sharks Trainer Peter DeBoer responded a query concerning the imaginable hand cross via announcing, “Yeah, you understand, fast play. I’m now not going to remark at the officiating. We discovered a method to win a sport.”

“It was once a sport of momentum swings, and the ones fast little performs occur everywhere the ice,” DeBoer added. “A few of them get referred to as, some get overlooked. We discovered a method to win.”

Karlsson addressed a query concerning the game-winning series via telling newshounds, “Smartly, we weren’t taking part in handball, had been we? So we had been taking part in hockey. I feel we deserved to win this sport, 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 was once an excellent sport.”

It wasn’t the primary time the Sharks have benefited very much in those playoffs from officiating many discovered questionable. In a first-round Recreation 7 towards the Vegas Golden Knights, San Jose was once down Three-Zero within the 3rd duration when a debatable five-minute penalty was once referred to as towards Vegas’s Cody Eakin for a cross-check; the Sharks used their guy benefit to attain 4 objectives and sooner or later gained that contest in extra time.

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