Programming note: Canucks-Sharks coverage kicks off Thursday at 7 p.m with Sharks Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California
SAN JOSE – None of the Sharks players on the ice knew the puck went in. No one on the bench was aware right away that the game should have been over. Not even Sharks video coordinator Brett Heimlich had access to a replay in time to show Tommy Wingels poke a loose puck past Ryan Miller in overtime of San Jose’s 5-4 shootout loss to the lowly Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night at SAP Center.
It wasn’t until the game was over that the Sharks (10-1-4) knew they should have had two points in the bank instead of one.
“Afterward, we saw the replay and definitely figured out it went in,” said Tyler Kennedy, whose shot off of the post led to the scrum. “But, that sucked.”
Wingels, who would have been credited with his second goal of the game and first overtime marker of his NHL career, seemed to have an idea that he might have scored, pointing out that a guilty Tyler Myers looked towards the referee after he brought the puck out from across the line.
“I recall trying to look at the Jumbotron and asking someone on the bench if he knew where it went, because I was screened,” Wingels said. “I wasn’t sure where it went, and it was a tough play to follow.”
“It seems like [Myers] was the only one that knew where that puck ended up.”
That may include referee Mike Leggo, who waved his arms to signal no goal after Kennedy hit the post, and later waved them again once Miller had it covered up. The NHL’s explanation was that Leggo had an “intent to blow” the play dead before the puck crossed the line, but Leggo didn’t actually blow his whistle until at least a full second after the puck was in.
“That’s a hard thing to argue. It’s a judgment call,” Todd McLellan said. “I think that - at least the video that I watched - the pause is remarkably long between the time it goes in and the actual whistle coming to the mouth. But, I guess you can make your mind up earlier than that.”
Had the Sharks realized at that moment that the puck had crossed the line, the outcome might have been different. Heimlich is in direct contract with Sharks assistant coach Jay Woodcroft on the bench, but by the time a replay definitively showed the goal should have counted, it was too late.
“The replay that [Heimlich] saw didn’t show the goal go in, but it appeared later on in the broadcast,” McLellan said. “As we were coming in, we were told it crossed the line, and should have been at least reviewed. There was obviously an error somewhere along the line. Are we happy about it? No, but there’s nothing we can do to change it.”
Kennedy said: “I think if we would have said something, for sure they would have looked at it. But, they started right up so fast. I couldn’t believe that happened. No one saw it except [Buffalo’s] own player.”
Overtime goal or not, the Sharks shouldn’t have been in that position in the first place against a team that had won just twice before Tuesday. San Jose dropped its third straight game (0-0-3).
“I’m a lot more upset with the way we played then the way [the disallowed goal] was handled. That emotion is more important than something we can’t control,” McLellan said.
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Joe Pavelski missed Wednesday’s practice due to personal reasons. He will play against the Canucks on Thursday, as the Sharks wrap up a three-game homestand.