VANCOUVER, B.C. — Granted, we’ve all seen more flagrant cases of goaltender interference, Craig Berube included.
But the Blues’ coach saw something on what would’ve been a Mikko Koivu goal for Minnesota late in the second period Saturday. As did Blues video coach Sean Ferrell.
“I just thought that he was bumped,” Berube said, referring to Blues goalie Jake Allen. “It was kind of a tight call. Different circumstances at the time maybe you don’t (challenge) it. The score, them being up by two, I thought it was a good time to challenge no matter what.”
The NHL Situation Room in Toronto reviewed the goal and agreed with Berube. Allen was bumped. He took a Zach Parise elbow to the head — nothing egregious, but an elbow to the head nonetheless.
The Situation Room thought it affected Allen’s ability to play the puck, and the goal was disallowed — much to the chagrin of Wild coach Bruce Boudreau. Asked for his thoughts on the goalie interference, Boudreau said:
“It wasn’t. That’s my thoughts. It wasn’t. They said his elbow touched his head inside the (goalie crease). But to me, Allen was moving in, 'cause Zach was outside. So he was moving into Zach, so I don’t understand the call.”
Boudreau made those comments to reporters after the game.
According to overhead replays, it’s debatable whether Allen moved into Parise. It’s clear that Allen was inside the blue paint — or the goal crease.
The result was huge. Instead of having a 4-2 lead with 5½ minutes left in the second period, Minnesota led by only 3-2.
“I thought it was going to be overturned,” Blues forward Ryan O’Reilly said. “When you see it, at the last second, you do see his elbow clip (Allen) a little bit. It’s tough to know what they’re going to call. Obviously there was some contact there, and yeah, it’s just nice to be on the better end of it.”
Minnesota obviously came out on the worst end of it.
“Well, 4-2, it’s a big difference, you know,” Boudreau said. “And the momentum going in (to the third period), and then we were just protecting the lead . . . instead of having that little bit of cushion.”
For the most part, the Blues dominated the rest of the game, pulling out a 4-3 overtime victory at Xcel Energy Center, with O’Reilly scoring the winning goal.
Disappointed as he might have been about the outcome and the goalie interference call, Parise gave credit to the Blues.
“They won for a reason,” Parise said. “They know how to weather the storm. They know how to shift momentum in a game, and that’s what they did tonight. They hung on, they hung around. We got a tough call against us, then I thought they took over.”
Blais and the bench minor
Boudreau’s frustration over the goalie interference call undoubtedly boiled over later in the game when the Blues’ Sammy Blais could’ve been called for tripping Luke Kunin, a St. Louis native who plays forward for the Wild. Seconds after the no-call, Blais scored the tying goal six minutes into the third period.
Asked if he got an explanation, Boudreau replied: “I got a penalty. I yelled at him. But he was on the other side of the ice.”
That was an apparent reference to Pierre Lambert, one of the referees working Saturday’s game.
Lambert also worked the Blues’ game against Vancouver on Oct. 17, when Berube got a bench penalty for, uh, foul language. He was complaining about — guess what? — a goalie interference call on Robert Thomas.
Those two penalties led to a five-on-three situation for the Canucks and resulted in a game-tying goal in the third period of what became a 4-3 Vancouver triumph.
On this occasion, Minnesota killed the resulting Blues power play.
Blais said the collision with Kunin occurred because he was pushed from behind. It’s hard to detect from television, but Blais was indeed pushed by Wild defenseman Matt Dumba at the start of the play.
Blais then made contact with Kunin, who fell down, and Blais then fell over Kunin. Blais got up, kept working, and moments later scored his fifth goal of the season to tie the game at 3-3 at the 6:05 mark of the third.
“‘Bozy’ (Tyler Bozak) had the puck and I was just there,” Blais said. “I knew ‘Bozy’ was going to pass it to me and I just brought it to the net and got my rebound and put it in. It was a big goal for us, and ‘O’Ry’ got it done in OT.”
All five of Blais’ goals this season have either given the Blues the lead or tied the score.