The Dallas Stars took a 4-2 lead into the third period of Game 2 on Monday. But should the fourth goal have even counted? The Avalanche don’t believe so.
What we know about the goal that opened up a two-goal lead for the Stars is that the lengthy review suggested that there was no conclusive evidence to overturn the goal. But the call, which was signaled as a good goal from referee Dan O’Rourke, is what’s being questioned by Avs captain Gabe Landeskog, his goalie Pavel Francouz and coach Jared Bednar.
Stars defenseman Esa Lindell was credited with the goal late in the second period. The blueliner had fired a shot at Francouz before whacking at the puck multiple times and eventually celebrating. The puck was lost somewhere in between Francouz’s pads along the goal line.
O’Rourke emphatically signaled with his hand that a goal had been scored. A lengthy review followed before eventually confirming that the goal would stand.
“Dan is behind the net on the other side. I don’t know how he sees that the puck is across the line,” Landeskog said. “I don’t know how he points at the net. I think he realized pretty quickly that he messed up. Once he starts watching the video replay I think he realizes he just went off of Esa Lindell’s reaction and pointed to the net. And then you can’t overturn it if there’s no evidence. We haven’t gotten an explanation and I’m excited to see what the explanation will be.”
Given that the evidence did not show that the puck was in fact on the goal line, there was no way the league would overturn the play. But the same would have held true if the referee had not signaled that the puck was across the line.
“I don’t know that it crossed the line. I don’t,” Bednar said. “I wish they would’ve blown it dead if they were unsure — if they hadn’t seen it cross. Then they could go to Toronto to see if it did cross. They call it a goal. I don’t know if it was based on the celebration or if they saw something that I didn’t. My feeling is, blow it and see. If it crosses the line, great. Award them the goal. I don’t like getting a goal against our team that I still don’t know if it had crossed.”
Francouz made 22 saves in the losing effort. But he was certain he had a 23rd save on that second chance opportunity from Lindell.
“Honestly I think it was on top of my pad that was in front of the goal line the whole time,” he said. “I don’t really know what the ref saw. But as Gabe said, it’s a tough call.”
The Avalanche were also not happy with the penalties that gave Dallas a 5-on-3 power play and an opportunity to erase a two-goal deficit.
The first penalty, called on defenseman Sam Girard for slashing, came just as Dallas forward Corey Perry got away with a slash at Francouz in front of the net. The goaltender saw the ref signal a penalty and was certain that it was his team that was gaining the man-advantage.
But much to his chagrin, the call was on one of his teammates behind the play.
“In that situation when I saw the ref putting his arm up I was pretty sure he’s calling it on him,” Francouz said of Perry’s slash. “I was surprised that he was calling our guy. I didn’t even see the slash from Girard. I didn’t see it at all but at that moment I was thinking Perry was going to go to the penalty box.”
While Francouz was certain his team was the one that deserved the man-advantage, Landeskog was not happy with the second penalty.
Colorado’s Ian Cole was whistled for cross-checking Joe Pavelski while killing the original penalty on Girard. The blueliner instantly argued the call but was sent to the box resulting in 1:47 of a two-man advantage for Dallas. The Stars would go on to score on both power plays to tie the game and take all the momentum.
“We got the game in our hands there through the first 30 minutes of the game until they get a power play and then a soft call to give them a 5-on-3 for almost two minutes,” Landeskog said. “Obviously they capitalized and it’s a 2-2 hockey game after that.”