The San Jose Sharks have had their share of breaks in the NHL playoffs.
Just don’t call them lucky.
The Sharks, who were up 2-1 in the Western Conference finals heading into Friday night’s Game 4 at the St. Louis Blues, rallied to beat the Vegas Golden Knights in seven games in the opening round and survived a conference semifinal matchup against the Colorado Avalanche, also in seven games.
In all three series, the Sharks have come out on the favorable side of controversial officials’ calls.
“It irks me when you use words like that, because this team has played four or five elimination games. Not moments — games,” Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said, per ESPN.com. “Twelve to 15 periods of elimination hockey against Vegas, against Colorado in Game 7, so I think it’s a ridiculous statement.
“You know what? We’ve found a way. And we’ve faced a lot of adversity. We’ve had calls go against us, and we’ve had calls go for us, and we’re still standing. For anybody to minimize that, I think is disrespectful to our group and what we’ve done.”
In Game 7 against Vegas, officials gave Knights forward Cody Eakin an excessive five-minute major in the third period; the NHL later apologized to Golden Knights general manager George McPhee for the call. San Jose scored four power-play goals while Eakin was in the penalty box, eventually winning 5-4 in overtime.
In Game 7 against Colorado, a coach’s challenge from San Jose resulted in Colorado’s apparent game-tying goal in the second period being overturned. Officials determined that Gabriel Landeskog was offside on the play while changing at the bench, a rare — if correct — call.
And then officials missed an obvious hand pass from the Sharks’ Timo Meier that led to Erik Karlsson’s game-winning goal in overtime in Wednesday’s 5-4 decision in St. Louis. NHL video policy does not allow for hand passes to be reviewed, unless the puck goes directly into the net.
“I don’t know if there’s ever been a lucky team who’s won,” Sharks forward Evander Kane said, per ESPN.com.
“I think at the end of the day, it boils down to finding ways to win, and every team goes through adversity throughout the course of the playoffs. We’ve battled throughout these playoffs. There’s been a lot of different types of scenarios that haven’t gone our way that we’ve been able to push through and find a way to be successful.”
—Field Level Media