We’ve already seen what a blown call can elicit from players in the infancy following the final buzzer of an NHL playoff game.
Jonathan Marchessault was rage-incarnate following the Vegas Golden Knights blew a 3-0 third-period lead in Game 7 of Round 1 after the San Jose Sharks were awarded a five-minute major on a phantom cross-checking call on teammate Cody Eakin.
Marchessault let it fly, four-letter words aplenty.
The St. Louis Blues loss in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final could very well have had the same reaction.
Erik Karlsson scored the overtime winner after Timo Meier‘s nifty hand pass found Gustav Nyquist, who dished it to Karlsson for his second of the game. The Blues appealed for justice immediately, but when the gavel hit, the goal stood.
“I really didn’t get an explanation other than I guess there’s a different set of rules for two different teams,” Alex Pietrangelo told reporters during his post-game scrum. “I’m sure they’ll lose some sleep tonight after looking at it.”
Asked if he thought it was a hand pass, Pietrangelo sarcastically laughed and then said he wasn’t going to say another word on the subject.
Craig Berube, too.
“I have nothing to say about it,” the Blues head coach 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.”
Prior to that, a reporter asked him if he thought there was a hand pass made on the play.
“What do you guys think?” Berube countered with.
“Yes” was the consensus answer for the press corps.
“Then don’t ask me. No reason to ask me,” Berube said.
Berube conceded that the Blues should have closed out the game after coming back from 2-0 and 3-1 deficits to lead 4-3 in the game before Logan Couture sent the game to overtime with a 1:01 remaining and the San Jose net empty.
But he wanted to lose on merit, at least.
Elsewhere, some chose to look straight ahead.
“Let’s move forward, that’s what we’re going to try and do in the next 24 hours,” said David Perron, who had two goals in the game. “We’re a really good team in here.”
Alex Steen flat-out wouldn’t comment on the play.
“That’s fine, you guys can talk about it,” Steen said when pressed on the subject. “We’re going to get ready for Game 4 here.”
Meanwhile, the NHL’s series director Kay Whitmore weighed in on the goal with The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford.
“It’s a non-reviewable play,” Whitemore said. “You can read between the lines. You can figure out what you want. You watched the video. But it’s just non-reviewable. I know that sounds like a cop-out answer, but that’s the truth.”
Whitmore was asked if the NHL’s Situation Room in Toronto could step in.
“If there was, then you answered your (question),” he said. “The way the rules are written, any chance there is to review, everything is reviewed that’s reviewable. But as the rules currently stand, the play is non-reviewable.”
Whitemore was then asked if the play should be reviewable.
“There’s a group of people (GMs) that will make that decision at some point,” he said.
Unlike the Golden Knights, the Blues have a chance to right the wrong. Better it happen in Game 3 than in Game 7, if that’s any consolation in St. Louis.