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Early Non-Call Badly Damaged Vegas’ Chances In Game 4; Tough Breaks Becoming A Bit Of A Trend

The Golden Knights entered Game 4 understanding they were playing against a desperate team, but they also knew they had a chance to all but bury the Sharks with a second consecutive road win. After taking a bit of time to get going early in Game 3, the Golden Knights came out looking like themselves to begin in Game 4.

Then, it all got flushed down the toilet when a line Vegas had bottled up all series, San Jose’s fourth, ran a play, and an illegal one at that, in which the Sharks have become synonymous with. Our buddy Sheng Peng from HockeyBuzz pointed the play out before the series. (Click through for a thorough breakdown of it)

Nate Schmidt said it was a ‘pick.’ Jon Merrill called it ‘subtle interference.’ Gerard Gallant offered, ‘It’s guys skating in front of other guys.’ -Sheng Peng, HockeyBuzz

As Marcus Sorensen skated from the red-line out, Eric Fehr heads back towards the red-line to cross up the defense. Legally, you can skate by, as long as there’s no contact. Here’s the play, you tell me if there’s contact.

It’s not legal doing that, so there’s nothing necessarily we can do. The refs just need to be aware, they were aware in the 2nd period and they called it, but the 1st period they got those two goals because of that and it’s unfortunate. The game moves fast for the refs too and that’s the way it went. -Jonathan Marchessault

The second Sharks goal is debatable, but the first one isn’t. What Eric Fehr did on that play is illegal. He should have gone to the penalty box and served two minutes, instead, it led directly to San Jose’s first goal and a downward spiral on the night for the Golden Knights.

You guys saw the play, that’s all I’m going to say. -Gerard Gallant

Like the overturned goal that wiped away the game-winning goal in Game 2, the “pick play” didn’t lose this game for the Golden Knights (more on that later), but it certainly didn’t help. Vegas had San Jose on the ropes and the first goal of the game could have easily flipped Game 4  in the other direction. The Golden Knights were playing fine and drew a penalty. It wasn’t called and it led to more than just a one-goal deficit, what it led to was a much more confident San Jose team. A team that went on to play their best game and sent the series back to Las Vegas tied at two.

I think we played well enough to win the first three, tonight, no, and we didn’t play bad tonight. They played the best game of the series in my mind. -Gallant

Don’t want to be talking about these guys, but they’re leaving us no other option. (Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It hasn’t just been these calls. There have been three goalie interference calls that have all gone in the Sharks favor. In Game 2 the Sharks skated around for more than five seconds with six men on the ice. Tonight, Martin Jones put the puck out of play for a delay of game and Melker Karlsson whacked Colin Miller in the face with his stick. All of these plays happened with the games still and balance, and they’ve all added up to a feeling that the scales are tilted a bit against the league’s 31st team.

Now, it’s a three-game series and while the Golden Knights are two games away from the Western Conference Finals, they’re also two games away from the end of the fairy tale. Vegas still controls this series, but they do not have the stranglehold they had on the Pacific Division all season, and they do not have the stranglehold on the series like they did all series against Los Angeles.

All teams’ chances in the playoffs are fragile because every matchup is against a great hockey team and the margins of error are minuscule. No one needs to feel like they’ve got to beat out the refs as well, and unfortunately, through four games of the series, there’s no way to help that feeling for the Golden Knights.




Driving Home From San Jose Special Podcast


  1. Joe Haight

    All anyone calls for is for consistency in the rules and penalty calls. It’s not just this series, it’s random in all the series and that’s why so many are up in arms this playoff year.

  2. The league needs to start coming out with what they do with refs who are standing right there, staring at a play and these issues and do nothing about it. Quite honestly, they hold too much power and not enough information on what happens when they badly ref. It looks like no one is managuying and ensuring these guys aren’t cheating and this is for every game, every team, everywhere.

  3. Jonathan

    Good analysis, I’m glad someone is saying it because the officiating has been terrible. I’m not even just talking about against Vegas, I mean it’s horribly inconsistent and like they’re unaware of the rules. In the first period alone, I’m sure careful watchers will know what I’m saying, there were two really obvious icing calls against San Jose, neither of which were called. Now, not a huge deal, I’ll grant you that, but the one was thrown in from 170 feet away and all of the Knights seemed downright confused by the no call. Then with us, I cannot recall the player, but it was maybe 8-12 minutes into the game, we bobbled an entry into the zone, no control, and they didn’t call offsides. It was weird because I’ve seen that called automatically all year, if you don’t control the puck and you sort of bobble it into the zone while it’s nobody’s puck, it’s always called offsides. Again, didn’t help us, but the refs seemed like they forgot how to blow a whistle for the first period despite blowing it every 20 seconds of Game 2. This series should be 3-1 and we all know it, only the biggest San Jose homers don’t know that, but now at 2-2 after what was a truly unwatchable loss tonight, it sure makes you nervous going into Game 5. I just hope that we play a GREAT game AND get some bounces to go our way, a puck off a Sharks back right into the goal, a clumsy play by Jones that leads to an easy goal, stuff that “doesn’t usually happen” but leads to an early 3-0 Vegas lead and we go on to win 5-2 or something. Then I want to see Fleury at his most dominant and our offense on fire in a 5-1 win in Game 6, series over. I had this series dead to right every game and I’m annoyed by that. I had Knights in games 1 and 3, Sharks in 2 and 4, and I’ve been right every game. I had Knights winning 5 and 6 and putting it away. We’ll see, please don’t let me be wrong now 😛

  4. Nick

    It wasn’t only the refs calls that were tilted, but the commentary seemed to be tilted to the sharks favor. I’m starting to understand why people are losing interest in pro sports. Especially NHL where penalties and “goalie interference” are ways for the league to manipulate an outcome…..

    • Bent Hermit

      That’s why I watch the Canadian broadcast. I hate listening to the NBC broadcaster. I like Doc and Eddie but the other guys suck. Milbury and Jones are idiots I have no idea how they have kept their jobs.

    • bob

      Very much so. Did you catch the “player in the white #81” WTF says that as a professional commentator. It’s like they refuse to learn the team, they are like some of the traditional guys just stuck on bashing the Knights. We are not a traditional team or organization get over it already.

    • It is a reality that the bias is clearly obvious from many of the officials and the national sportscaster staff. Nobody is even denying it.

  5. Jim

    I remember when I watched my first hockey game, too.

    Vegas fans are the worse fans in the league. I wouldn’t doubt that they think the puck is square.

    • Gocdogs

      Worst Jim…..we are the worst.

    • Rob

      I know right, we are like those losers that come to another teams site just to troll. Fans like that are just the worst.

      Now I will return to cheering my squadron on Friday as they take the court and make points.

  6. DGL

    The one thing that has stood out all series for me has been San Jose’s dominance in the faceoff. One of those little things that rarely gets talked about but wins games at this time of the year.

  7. DeliciousSalt

    What about Timo Meier getting smashed in the face away from the puck with a high stick? Or the two PPGs in the third game for Vegas being very picky calls? I’ve run out of salt at home, can I have some of yours?

  8. Bent Hermit

    The Blues were the 1st team to start running pick plays against VGK. It was the loss at St. Louis.

  9. SJS18

    There are noncalls on both teams. You can tell here who’s with who…Of course when your team loses you’re going to make a bunch of excuses. Really, the first goal set Vegas on a downward spiral? What happened to playing a full 60? They had many powerplays to try and get back in it. The Sharks showed up last night, Vegas was at the craps table. As long as you keep your foot on the gas, play physical, and your goaltender makes big plays, you’re going to win.

  10. D

    Ehhhhhh throughout the whole series there’s been bad calls and no calls against both teams that resulted in goals. The Fehr pick absolutely should have been called, but you can’t ignore that the refs didn’t call a delay of game after Vegas sent the puck over the ice practically right after Jones did. We can complain about refs bias, but San Jose was still in the box far more than Vegas was for pretty light calls and they just shut down our power play. We had every chance to get back into and we didn’t. The Sharks were able to shut us down last night, plain and simple.

  11. Zach

    It’s a play every team runs. Also, you neglect to mention the trip missed in the neutral zone before they entered the attacking zone that would have put SJ on the PP.
    VGK hadn’t had good pressure all of the 1st, one missed call and one goal doesn’t derail the whole game that early if the team is good enough.

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