SAN JOSE -- Suffice to say, the Sharks’ Monday night contest against the Bruins didn’t end the way they wanted it to. Not just because they got only one point in the standings from the 6-5 overtime loss, but because of one particular call that was made toward the end of the game.
San Jose was dialed in and holding down the fort to ensure they got a would-be 5-4 victory fueled by Joe Thornton’s hat trick. But then, Bruins’ forward Chris Wagner registered the tying goal by swatting the puck out of the air with his stick, which looked like a high-stick play. Wagner then gave the puck an extra nudge as it trickled into the net with just a little over one minute left in regulation.
Per the NHL rulebook, high-sticking the puck -- as the rule says, “battling the puck above the normal height of the shoulders” -- should have negated the goal. In Monday’s game, the officials decided the puck was played low enough for the goal to count and for the game to be tied. The Sharks revealed after the game that wasn’t how they saw it.
“I was right there on the play and it was pretty clear it was above both the crossbar and his shoulders,” Logan Couture said. “I think it was above his eyesight.”
Sharks coach Peter DeBoer didn’t agree with the call either, calling it one of a few calls he didn’t particularly agree with at the end of the game. “I’m sure we’ll get an explanation and some type of apology,” he said frankly. “It doesn’t help us in the standings but that’s usually how it works.”
The call was also confusing in that the Sharks weren’t able to review it afterward. (It’s possibly because Wagner tapped the puck in legally after knocking it down with his stick, but the league has yet to provide an explanation.) All the same, the ruling put San Jose in a tough position.
“They said it was under his shoulder and then he put it in, so the call stands, and it sounded like it wasn’t reviewable,” Joe Pavelski relayed to the media post-game. “Maybe a little glitch in the rule there. We’re a little unlucky that we can’t challenge it. I haven’t seen it close up, but it felt like it was high.”
The tying goal then set Boston up to tally the game-winner in overtime -- a tough pill for San Jose to swallow after they’d battled back from a 3-0 first-period deficit to take a 5-4 lead in the third frame. Plus, as DeBoer pointed out, the decision gave the Sharks only one point on the evening, so they couldn’t keep pace in the standings with the Calgary Flames, who defeated the Arizona Coyotes earlier on Monday 5-2.
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At the end of the day, the Sharks weren’t completely unhappy with how they rallied and played against a tough Boston team. But that doesn’t mean they have to be happy with that controversial call at the end of regulation.
“I’m sure the refs are going to watch it and they’ll probably feel bad about this one,” Couture said.