“I’m not going sit here and judge every single call that’s being made. The call that I will talk about is their 4-2 goal,” said captain Gabriel Landeskog, whose team is down 2-0 in the Western Conference semifinal series.
The goal in question was scored by Stars defenseman Esa Lindell at 19:14 of the second period. After a turnover, he skated in and fired the puck on Avalanche goalie Pavel Francouz. After a save, Lindell crashed the crease and whacked at a loose puck before celebrating. Referee Dan O’Rourke signaled that a goal had been scored, but the play was reviewed by the officials, as it was difficult to ascertain on replays whether the puck had completely crossed the goal line.
After further review, the call on the ice was not overturned, giving Dallas a critical goal at a critical time.
“Honestly, I think it was under the top of my pad. That was in front of the goal line the whole time. I don’t know what the refs saw. It’s a tough call,” Francouz said.
Landeskog thought he knew what the refs saw: Lindell celebrating.
“I mean, Dan [O’Rourke] is behind the net on the other side. I don’t know how he sees that the puck is across the line. I don’t know how he points at the net. I think he realized pretty quickly that he messes up. Once he starts watching the video replay, I think he realizes that he went off of Esa Lindell’s reaction and pointed to the net. You can’t overturn it if there’s no evidence,” Landeskog said. “We haven’t gotten an explanation. I’m excited to see what the explanation will be.”
Colorado coach Jared Bednar said he didn’t know if the puck fully crossed the goal line.
“I guess what I’ll say is that I wish they would have blown it dead if they were unsure. If they didn’t see it cross [the goal line], then blow it dead,” Bednar said. “They call it a goal. I don’t know if it was based off the celebration or if they saw something I didn’t. My feeling is that [you] blow it and then see if it crosses the lines. If it did, great, then award them the goal. I don’t like getting a goal against our team that I still don’t know if it crossed. Maybe it’s a mistake. Maybe it’s not. I have no idea.”
Dallas coach Rick Bowness said his message to the Stars was not to get too high or low after the review. “Those reviews are totally out of your control,” he said. “You can’t get wrapped up in the highs and lows of it. We talked to the players to just get ready for your next shift. If we get it, fine. If we don’t fine. We stay in the moment. We got the call, but regardless, you can’t let your emotions swing one way or the other.”
The goal capped four straight from the Stars to take control of the game. The rally started with two power-play goals just 1:10 apart in the second period. The first power play was another controversial call from the Avalanche’s perspective, as Sam Girard was whistled for slashing Jason Dickinson, but a slash from Corey Perry on Francouz wasn’t called.
“Honestly, in that situation, I saw the ref putting his arm up, and I was pretty sure he was [calling it] on him,” the goalie said of Perry.
An interference penalty on defenseman Ian Cole just 26 seconds later — which Landeskog labeled “a soft call” — resulted in a 5-on-3 power play that enabled the Stars to strike twice and tie the game.
“That power-play goal we scored on the 5-on-3, we needed that badly. That injected some life back into our game,” Dallas coach Rick Bowness said. “So then the penalty-killers go out, and they do their job.”
Colorado opened the scoring with two power-play goals but went 0-for-6 after that, including a 5-on-3 the Avs couldn’t convert.
“If you look at our effort and competitiveness in the first period and into the second, it was really good,” Bednar said. “It seemed like we were rolling right along. You can see how quickly things can change.”
The coach said that his team’s “resolve just wasn’t where it needed to be after a bad break or a bad penalty.” Combine that with the Avalanche’s missing three injured players — defenseman Erik Johnson, forward Matt Calvert and goalie Philipp Grubauer — and Colorado is reeling just two games into the series.
“We need to be stronger mentally that that. We started feeling sorry for ourselves,” Bednar said. “Now we’ve put ourselves in a hole.”
Game 3 of the series is scheduled for Wednesday in Edmonton, Alberta.