There a lot of people who believe the San Jose Sharks should have been eliminated from this post season a long time ago. There has been several instances where the referees have given San Jose the benefit of the doubt on close calls, and they have won three games that ended in controversy.
The latest one was on Wednesday night in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals on the road against the St. Louis Blues. Timo Meier obviously hand passed the puck in overtime and it led to the game-winning goal scored by Erik Karlsson, but the referees did not go instant replay, the Sharks held on for the win.
The other two instances were in Game 7 of the first-round against the Vegas Golden Knights. As well as Game 7 of the second-round against the Colorado Avalanche on a missed off sides call.
In Game 7 against Vegas, the Golden Knights had a 3-0 lead in the third-period in Game 7. Cody Eakin cross checked Joe Pavelski and it caused him to bleed in the head, but it wasn’t vicious enough to give Eakin a five-minute major. I think it should have been a minor penalty not a 5 minute major as it was called.
Due to the length of the penalty, San Jose scored four power play goals. Vegas eventually tied the game in regulation, but they lost in overtime. If the five-minute major wasn’t called, the Sharks would not even be in the playoffs right now.
In Game 7 against Colorado, the San Jose Sharks had a 2-1 lead in the second period and the Avalanche had tied the game at 2. The Sharks challenged for off sides on the goal scoring play and won. They should not have won the challenge because one of Colorado’s players wasn’t even a part of the play since he was going back to the bench.
Does the NHL actually want a team who has gotten the majority of penalty calls to go their way in the postseason to win a Stanley Cup? That would honestly be a terrible look for the league in my opinion. I have watched the Stanley Cup Playoffs for most of my life and this is the first time that I can recall where one team has gotten this many favorable calls.
A lot of people at this point are rooting for the St. Louis Blues to knock them off, but it doesn’t help when they are playing 5-on-8 every night (because of the refs). The Boston Bruins will possibly have to deal with the same thing in the Stanley Cup Finals, now that they have advanced after sweeping the Carolina Hurricanes to win the Eastern Conference title.
The San Jose Sharks are a very talented hockey team and their depth is one of the reasons why they are still in contention for the title, but they have also had extensive help from the referees. I believe it would just be better for the NHL if the referees would not have so much of an impact on the outcome of the most important games of the season.