For a moment, it appeared the Sharks had allowed the game-tying goal they dreaded in the second period of Wednesday night's Game 7 against the Colorado Avalanche.
Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon, who left and returned in the first period after an apparent shoulder injury, grabbed Derick Brassard's zone-entry pass and set up Colin Wilson. Wilson beat San Jose goaltender Martin Jones with 7:49 remaining in the middle frame, but the Sharks challenged the play for offside after an evaluation by video coach Dan Darrow.
Replays indicated that Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog still was in the offensive zone when MacKinnon touched the puck. Landeskog was trying to get off the ice and back to Colorado's bench, but the NHL's Situation Room determined he "did not legally tag up at the blue line prior to the puck entering the offensive zone."
According to the NHL, "[the] decision was made in accordance to Rule 83.3 (i) 'All players of the offending team clear the zone at the same instant (skate contact with the blue line) permitting the attacking players to re-enter the attacking zone …'"
“It’s a tough call to make, so hopefully they got it right,” Landeskog told reporters at SAP Center, via The Denver Post, after Game 7.
Landeskog called the play "frustrating" and noted "there were 10 things I could've done differently on that play."
Avalanche coach Jared Bednar was asked about the call in his postgame press conference, but he said the Sharks deserved to win Game 7 regardless.
“It was a real good series, but they were the better team for two big portions of tonight’s game," Bednar rold reporters, via The Post. "And they won, and they deserved to win.
"I loved our push at the end. We had some chances to tie it, and our guys fought real hard all the way to the end.”
The Sharks found themselves at the center of a controversial call for their second consecutive Game 7 this postseason. In the final game of their first-round series with the Vegas Golden Knights, Vegas forward Cody Eakin was assessed a five-minute major cross-checking penalty after San Jose captain Joe Pavelski laid motionless on the ice with his head bleeding. But a collision with Golden Knights forward Paul Stastny, not Eakin's cross-check, caused Pavelski to hit his head on the ice.
San Jose scored four goals on the ensuing five-minute power play to take its first lead that night, and eventually dispatched Vegas with a 5-4 overtime win. The NHL ultimately apologized to the Golden Knights, and Pavelski told reporters Sunday he didn't believe it should have been a major penalty, either.