SAN JOSE -- There have been a couple instances during the Sharks’ current Stanley Cup playoff run where a call on the ice has shifted momentum in the game.
In their Game 2 loss to the Avalanche, you don’t have to look further than the setup for Colorado’s second goal.
Before Tyson Barrie gave the Avs a 2-1 lead in the second period, the puck was flipped out of Colorado’s zone, and Mikko Rantanen raced down the ice after it. There was some debate among those watching the game as to whether the whistle should have been blown for icing, and San Jose’s defensive pairing of Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Brent Burns appeared to slow up a bit as if they were expecting the call.
Instead, play continued, and Rantanen set the scoring play in motion that culminated in Barrie's game-winning goal in Colorado's 4-3 win.
Afterward, there still was some discussion among the players and coaches as to whether the puck had been iced, and whether the correct call was made.
“It was the right call,” Vlasic told the press after the game, before adding in a level voice: “I’ll take the high road and wait for the league’s apology tomorrow.”
Avalanche coach Jared Bednar spoke more in-depth about the lack of an icing call, comparing the play to one that occurred in Game 1 between J.T. Compher and Erik Karlsson -- a call that ended up going in San Jose’s favor.
“My view of it was it was the exact same as the icing here the other night when Karlsson the inside track on Compher and they’re in a race and they blow it down for icing because Karlsson had the inside path,” Bednar said. “To me in this one, I’m just watching Mikko go up the ice, he’s got a head of steam and he’s going to the right area, he’s got the inside path on, I think it was Vlasic, on the post. Looks to me like Mikko was going to get there first and let it go.”
Sharks coach Peter DeBoer wasn’t as keen on discussing the play, telling the media whether he saw an icing was irrelevant.
“Whether I thought it was doesn’t matter,” DeBoer said. “Our players did, and they let up. They relaxed for a minute, and it obviously wasn’t [icing]. I guess the lesson in that is you don’t assume anything. It’s the playoffs -- play and make sure.”
The goal visibly tilted the ice in Colorado’s favor, and they were able to score again before the second period expired to take a 3-1 lead into the intermission. Even with a push late in the third period, thanks to two goals from Brent Burns, San Jose’s second-period performance -- icing or not -- already had done the damage.
“We had a 1-0 lead,” Vlasic reminded. “I think we should’ve, not ended it, but poured on the second and third one, and they would’ve been done. We kept them in it.”
Logan Couture agreed.
“We should’ve been up two or three after the first. We had too many good looks not to score a second one and give ourselves a bigger lead,” he said. “They found their game in the second and played in our end.”
With the series now tied at one game apiece, the Sharks only can hope to put Sunday’s contest in the rearview mirror as quickly as possible and prepare for Tuesday night's Game 3 in Denver.
“Hopefully we pass it quickly and get ready for the next one,” Couture said of Game 2. “At this moment, I’m pretty frustrated and disappointed.”