Neither of them saw it.
All four of them, specifically.
Two referees and two linesmen missed a hand pass by Timo Meier, a puck that Gustav Nyquist then moved to Erik Karlsson, who planted it behind Jordan Binnington for the overtime winner in a 5-4 triumph, now shrouded in controversy, that put the San Jose Sharks ahead of the St. Louis Blues 2-1 in the Western Conference Final.
From the moment the light went on behind Binnington, the Blues were incensed. Binnington got right back to his feet after the puck trickled by him and immediately pleaded the case. The rest of his teammates followed his lead.
The play, however, wasn’t reviewable. The Situation Room in Toronto would be of no use. And all four in the black and white striped long-sleeves missed what appeared to be a blatant hand pass.
The goal, then, had to stand.
This is the rule, if you’re wondering:
79.1 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.
The Sharks have been on the right side of luck a couple times now in the playoffs, most notably in Game 7 against the Vegas Golden Knights. Trailing 3-0 in the third period, the Sharks were gifted a five-minute power play after Cody Eakin was thought to have cross-checked Joe Pavelski in the head, causing him to crash violently into the ice and forcing him out of the game.
You know the rest of that story. The Sharks tied the game and then won in overtime to progress to face the Blues.
Two missed calls and two critical wins for the Sharks, who regained home-ice advantage after the Blues earned a split back at SAP Center.
And credit to the Blues, who despite letting their frustrations out on the glass and the half boards, took the high road after the game.
“I have nothing to say about it,” Craig Berube said. “The team’s got to move on. We all have to move on from it. There’s nothing we can do about what happened.”
Added Alex Pietrangelo: “I guess there’s a different set of rules for two different teams. I’m sure they’ll lose some sleep tonight after looking at it.”
The Blues had a remarkable second period after the Sharks jumped out to a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes.
Alex Steen‘s second of the playoffs cut the deficit in half just 1:18 into the period. Joe Thornton‘s second of the night canceled that out just 18 seconds later, but the Blues and their never-die attitude, rebounded, scoring three straight, one from Vladimir Tarasenko and then two goals from David Perron in a span of 2:39.
“We’ve got to do better there,” Berube said. “We got to close that game out, in my opinion. We should have won it 4-3.”
Colton Parayko had his hand on three of the four second-period goals, grabbing assists on them while he kept Logan Couture at bay.
That happens from time to time. Sometimes for 20 minutes. Maybe 40. Even 58:59. But 60 minutes? Godspeed to you.
And while Parayko put in a valiant effort against Couture, when the net was empty and it was 6-on-5 for the Sharks, Parayko couldn’t hold the fort anymore.
Couture’s league-leading 14th sent the game to overtime.
Game 4 goes on Friday at 8 p.m. on NBCSN
MORE: Vince Dunn done for night after being struck in mouth by puck
Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck