SAN JOSE — Hopefully the cleanup crew at SAP Center has some extra mop buckets. It’s going to take a few to soak up the sarcasm that dripped from San Jose Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic in discussing an icing call that wasn’t whistled by the officials and led to a critical Colorado Avalanche goal in their 4-3 win in Game 2 on Sunday night.
“I’ll take the high road and wait for the league’s apology tomorrow,” said Vlasic.
So it wasn’t the right call?
“I’m taking the high road. Waiting for the apology tomorrow,” Vlasic reiterated, in what was presumably a reference to the NHL’s apology to the Vegas Golden Knights, the Sharks’ first-round opponent, after the on-ice officials mistakenly handed the Sharks a major penalty power-play that turned the tide in Game 7.
On this play in Game 2, with the Sharks and Avalanche tied 1-1 in the second period, Vlasic and Mikko Rantanen raced for the puck on what would have been an icing violation against Colorado.
The on-ice officials didn’t whistle the play down, as they believed Rantanen had broken up the icing. But the Sharks hesitated, looking like they assumed one was coming. That led to a point blank shot from Gabriel Landeskog that was stopped by goalie Martin Jones, but he couldn’t stop the follow up blast from defenseman Tyson Barrie, giving the Avalanche a lead they would not surrender.
While Vlasic disagreed with the call, Colorado coach Jared Bednar felt differently.
“It was the exact same as the icing here the other night, when [Erik] Karlsson had the inside track on [J.T.] Compher. They’re in a race, they blow it down for icing because Karlsson had the inside path. To me, on this one, I’m watching Mikko [Rantanen] go up the ice, he’s got a head of steam, he’s getting to the right area, he’s got the inside path on Vlasic on the post. It looks to me like Mikko’s going to get their first, so they let it go. To me, it’s similar plays: The guy on the inside got the call. One was against us. One was in our favor,” said Bednar.
Coach Peter DeBoer of the Sharks split the difference, saying it was obvious that his players felt there should have been a whistle — but that it was also obvious they needed to play until they heard one.
“Whether or not I thought it was doesn’t matter. Our players did. They let up. They relaxed for a minute and it obviously wasn’t. So the lesson in that was don’t assume anything in the playoffs. Play, and make sure,” he said.
The Avalanche tied the series at 1-1, with Game 3 in Denver scheduled for Tuesday. The Avs lost Game 1 against Calgary in the first round and then roared back with four straight wins. The Sharks will go on the road tied at 1-1 for the 6th time in franchise history. They have gone on to win each of the previous 5 such series.
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