rik Karlsson scored with 14:37 left in overtime to lift the Sharks to a controversial 5-4 win over the St. Louis Blues in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final on Wednesday at Scottrade Center.
Karlsson took a pass from Gus Nyquist and beat Blues goalie Jordan Binnington for his second goal of the game that gave the Sharks a 2-1 series going into Game 4 on Friday.
The Blues left the ice outraged that Karlsson’s goal was allowed to stand. The puck had come to him after a hand-pass by Nyquist, a clear violation for the rules, but one that is not reviewable. To overturn the call, the infraction would have needed be seen by one of the on-ice officials. The four of them met briefly. Evidently none of them had seen the hand-pass, so the goal stood.
Binnington and other St. Louis players reacted by slamming their sticks against the glass or on the ice.
“I didn’t get an explanation really,” Blues captain Alex Petrangelo said. “Different set of rules for two teams, I guess. I’m sure they’ll loss some sleep tonight after they look at it. That’s all I’m going to say about it.”
Karlsson, asked if it was a hand-pass, said: “We weren’t playing handball. We were playing hockey. We deserved to win the game. Neither team drew the shorter stick on any of the calls. It was a fair game.”
The Sharks tied the game in the final minute of regulation on a goal by Logan Couture, his league-leading 14th of the playoffs and 48th of his career..
Playing with the extra skater, Joe Thornton sent a pass in front of the net to Joe Pavelski, who redirected it toward Binnington. Couture was right there, as his shot found the inside of the post.
In a wild first 40 minutes, Thornton registered his first career two-goal playoff game, but the Blues stormed with three unanswered goals to take a 4-3 lead into the third period.
After Thornton’s second of the game gave the Sharks a 3-1 lead at the 1:36 mark of the second period, Vladimir Tarasenko cut San Jose’s lead to one at the 4:05 mark and David Perron added an even strength goal with 3:57 left in the second to tie the game.
Perron then gave the Blues the lead with a power play goal with 1:18 left in the second, as his shot from inside the blue line appeared to go off the leg of Justin Braun before it got past Jones, who finished with 28 saves.
Before Perron’s first goal, Thornton wanted a delay of game penalty called on the Blues forward. Perron was being pressured behind the St. Louis net when it appeared that he cleared the puck out of play without it going off a Sharks player.
Officials convened for a few moments but determined there was no infraction, leaving Thornton and Sharks coach Pete DeBoer scratching their heads at a critical juncture of the game.
Looking to distance themselves from their Game 2 loss to the Blues at home on Monday, the Sharks got off to the kind of start they wanted.
Erik Karlsson and Thornton scored goals 3:21 apart in the first period for a 2-0 Sharks lead. Karlsson took advantage of a Blues giveaway and fired a shot through traffic that got past Blues goalie Jordan Binnington for his first goal of the playoffs.
Thornton then scored his first at the 16:58 mark of the first, as he collected a rebound after a shot on goal from Marc-Edouard Vlasic and tapped it past Binnington for what was then his third goal of the playoffs as he snapped an eight-game goal drought. Alexander Steen scored at the 1:18 mark of the second period.
Thornton had played 175 playoff games before Wednesday but had never had two goals in one game. At 39, Thornton is the oldest player in NHL history at the time of his first career multi-goal playoff game. He eclipsed the mark set by Mike Knuble, who was 37 when he scored twice in Game 4 of the 2010 Conference Quarterfinals