SAN JOSE -- It’s fair to say the Sharks’ 3-2 overtime win over the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday didn’t really pick up speed until both teams started scoring in the second period. But then play came screeching to a halt, as a potential tying goal could have changed the momentum of the entire game.
After San Jose scored two goals in less than a minute to take a 2-1 lead, the Desert Dogs mounted a counter attack and looked to have scored the tying goal. Arizona forward Richard Panik gained speed as he carried the puck up through the neutral zone, with Justin Braun on his heels trying to slow him down. Panik tried circling around the blue paint and appeared to collide with Sharks goaltender Martin Jones as the skipping puck trickled into the net.
“I don’t know how it kept trickling in there,” Braun told the press after the game. “I thought it was going backwards and must have hit the foot or something.”
The goal was initially waived off, with the official saying the puck crossed the crease in an illegal fashion. Then, after a video review, the call was overturned and the tying goal counted. Then, the Sharks challenged the call and were successful in getting the goal overturned for good on account of goaltender interference.
“Thankfully it was goaltender interference, (because) that was kind of a different play,” Braun admitted.
In addition to it appearing Panik had stopped Jones from being able to do his job and stop the puck, he also looked to have whacked Jones in the head in the process. As the goal was initially being waived off, the camera caught Jones grabbing his head.
“Yeah, he hit (Jones) pretty good right in the head,” Braun said afterward, expressing concern for his teammate’s health. “He took a big hit. But he bounced back pretty good.”
The final determination had an immense effect on the outcome of the game. Arizona scored the tying goal in the third period as both squads -- who were playing their first game after their bye weeks -- began to look gassed.
But with the score still only tied, San Jose had the opportunity to win the contest in overtime. Had the second-period marker counted, Arizona might have gained momentum and won the final game of the Sharks-Coyotes season series.
Particularly with the Sharks looking rusty, the positive impact that second-period call had on San Jose cannot be overstated.