After the Sharks came back to defeat the Vegas Golden Knights by a score of 5-4 in overtime on Tuesday night, the look on the Golden Knights’ Jonathan Marchessault said it all. When he opened his mouth to answer the reporter’s question, he only verified what all of the players on Sin City’s side were already thinking: “Was it stolen?” Marchessault asked rhetorically and a bit sarcastically. He then proceeded to answer his own question by saying, “Yeah, it was 3-0.”
Considering that the game hinged on a rough call at the very end, if you are a Vegas Golden Knights fan you would definitely agree. Of course, the game went into overtime tied at 4 all and the Sharks would score a goal and win it. However, the real story is what led to that 4-4 tie. During the latter part of the third period, the Golden Knights were leading the game 3-0 and looked to be well on their way to advancing in the Stanley Cup playoffs. However, Cody Eakin was called for a 5-minute major for cross checking one of the Sharks players, and during the power-play San Jose scored 4 unanswered goals. The game would be tied up and go into overtime not soon after, but a comeback of this magnitude definitely took the wind out of Vegas’ sails. Granted, it is true that cross-checking is definitely against the rules. However, it wasn’t the cross-checking that Las Vegas was disputing; it was the timing of the penalty call. The refs only called the five-minute major on Cody Eakins when they saw the extent of the other player’s injuries.
Of course, although Cody Eakin’s five-minute major is one of the main things that led to the Sharks coming back and being able to advance, the Vegas Golden Knights are not the only NHL team who has been a victim of a controversial call. For example, in 1999 Buffalo Sabres fans had a skate in the crease call go unnoticed. Had the refs called it, a goal would have been prevented and Buffalo would have tied the series in the Stanley Cup. They lost instead. Moreover, the Calgary Flames were up 3-2 in their own Stanley Cup series when an official missed a situation where the puck was “past the line” against the Tampa Bay Lightning. This could have led to the Flames winning the series. However, because the officials missed it, Tampa Bay won that game and they won the new game for the Stanley Cup in 2004.
So, I guess Vegas Golden Knights fans should take heart in realizing they are not the only ones who have suffered with some bad calls. They are a good team, and they will be back to contend next year.