The third game in an entertaining Western Conference Finals series ended in controversy on May 15. Neither team took much momentum into a required overtime period, but it was San Jose who was the beneficiary of a blown call by the officials. That moment would result in the game-winning goal for the Sharks, beating St. Louis 5-4 at the Enterprise Center.
Afterwards, both sides were asked their opinion if there was a hand pass made by Timo Meier or not. For San Jose, they felt it wasn’t a blown call and the officiating in general was iffy.
“It was a quick play,” Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. “I’m not going to comment on the officiating. Our guys found a way to win.”
In the third period, it appeared that one of the Blues skaters got away with a delay of game call, flipping the puck over the glass. Joe Thornton wanted it to be reviewed, but the Sharks were denied the power play with the refs deciding to play on.
The Blues had other ideas regarding the controversial no-call, which was most evident with their coach Craig Berube.
“I didn’t get an explanation from the refs. What do you guys think? I’ve got nothing to say about it,” Berube said post game to reporters. “We’ve got to move on from it and get ready for game four. It’s all we can do now.”
Take a look and determine for yourself if this was a hand pass or not. Regardless, it’s a play that can’t be reviewed.
According to USA Hockey, the official language states that, “A player or goalkeeper shall not be allowed to “bat” the puck in the air, or push it along the ice with his hand, directly to a teammate unless the “hand pass” has been initiated and completed in his defending zone, in which case play shall be allowed to continue. If the “hand pass” occurs in the neutral or attacking zone, a stoppage of play will occur and a face-off will take place according to last play face-off rules provided no territorial advantage has been gained.”
Leading up to THAT, game three was exciting with the Sharks and Blues needing overtime to decide who would take an edge in the series.
Late Magic by Couture Forced OT
St. Louis shut down Couture most of the way, which opened up scoring opportunities for his line mates. There was an emphasis on keeping Couture in check, having netted two goals in game two and has been dominating this postseason. He did manage to get five shots off, and finally cashed in with mere seconds remaining.
Down by one with just over two minutes remaining, San Jose decided to pull their goalie for the advantage. It paid off, with Thornton getting the puck to the front of the net and Couture poked it by Jordan Binnington, who made the initial stop.
Couture is continuing to climb the postseason goals list, still chasing Alexander Ovechkin for the most in NHL History. Currently, Couture has 47 postseason goals, while Ovi has 50. In addition to all that, Couture tied teammate Joe Pavelski for most postseason goals in franchise history.
An argument can be made as well that St. Louis shouldn’t have let it get to the point of going to overtime. While they did fall behind by two goals, the Blues rattled off four goals in the second period to take their lone lead of the night. That has to be encouraging, especially since Vladimir Tarasenko broke out of a slump and David Perron scored a pair. They have several weapons they can use to score, and that may not worry the Sharks per se, but they will have to account for it.
Special Night for a Special Fan
There was a special fan in attendance to rep the Blues, along with her family. The story of Laila spread across the internet following the game two win for the Blues. Laila is battling cancer and was able to leave her home for the first time in months. The first place she got to go? The Enterprise Center to root on the Blues for game three.
Even though they couldn’t get her the win, there was plenty of opportunity to cheer on the Blues success throughout the night.
Sharks: Joe Thornton/Erik Karlsson (two goals), Logan Couture (one goal), Kevin Labanc (two assists), Timo Meier/Gustav Nyquist/Joe Pavelski/Joe Thornton/Marc-Edouard Vlasic/Brenden Dillon (one assist), Martin Jones (28 saves on 32 attempts)
Blues: David Perron (two goals), Alex Steen/Vladimir Tarasenko (one goal), Colton Parayko (three assists), Ivan Barbashev/Patrick Maroon/Brayden Schenn/Joel Edmundson (one assist), Jordan Binnington (27 saves on 32 attempts)
Game four will be played May 17 in St. Louis with puck drop scheduled for 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN. St. Louis could take back some momentum in the series by winning, or, San Jose could take a 3-1 lead in the series and force the Blues to play desperate on the road. Needless to say, game four is going to be pivotal.