Blues unhappy with no overturn for goaltender interference,
lose for first time in four games in battle of top teams in NHL
BOSTON -- Jake Allen's performance in a 3-1 loss to the Boston Bruins may be overshadowed by what is becoming an increasing unclear ruling in the NHL: what is and what is not goaltender interference.
In a game of two of the stingiest teams in the league, any goal would be crucial. Even the Blues' dads, who made the trip for the first of two games, would agree.
|(St. Louis Blues photo)|
Former teammates Jay Bouwmeester (left) of the Blues and David Backes
(42) of the Bruins battle in front of Blues goalie Jake Allen Thursday.
But the Bruins' first goal, scored by David Krejci, certainly had the Blues (31-19-3) up in arms and more confused as ever.
The Blues outshot the Bruins 14-9 but trailed 1-0 because of a very questionable call that the Blues challenged for goaltender interference.
Krejci put the puck in the net after Allen made a save off Jake DeBrusk's one-timer. The puck bounded high into the air, got swept out of the crease, and after Joel Edmundson tried to backhand sweep it out of the crease, he did onto Krejci's stick and he knocked it back into the open net at 12:32 of the first period.
But not after both DeBrusk and Ryan Spooner slid through the crease and pushed Allen out of the net with no chance to get back. Referee Tom Chmielewski was the official behind the goal signifying goal.
The Blues challenged the play but it was determined that no goaltender interference occurred and the goal stood. And after the mandate issued at the committee meeting at All-Star weekend to cut down on the length of the reviews, officials were told to stick more with the original calls on the ice unless blatant interference occurred, which looked in this case like it was.
When asked about it, Blues coach Mike Yeo didn't care to address it.
"Next question," he said.
"Not today," Yeo said.
Pretty much sums up how the Blues felt.
This seemed like a classic case of interference, and according to the Blues, the coaches were told by officials on the ice that the reason it wasn't overturned was because Allen didn't make an attempt to get back in the crease, therefore he wouldn't have made the save.
But that's an assumption by the officials and not part of the rule and their determination of judging whether goaltender interference occurred or not.
"Doesn't really make sense to me," Allen said. "I think that's just an excuse.
"... I was almost in the corner, right? I think you guys got a pretty good look at it. Probably should have been goalie interference. It's the way it is. You get some calls, you don't. Everyone's got a different opinion on it. Some go your way, some don't unfortunately because you lose a time out as well. I don't know, both sides of the coin there. It's a tough one for me to answer."
When the puck was put in the net, Allen skated into the corner and didn't put up an argument with Chmielewski because he felt it was blatant enough that if he pleaded, it would have made his case worse.
"I don't think we really needed to say anything," Allen said. "If you saw it, you don't really need to say anything. If you complain sometimes, I think it goes the other way. So I think everyone's on the ice, we made the challenge and I thought it was the right challenge. Sometimes we get them, sometimes we don't.
"What's the point of getting fumed over? I've still got 50 minutes left to play in the hockey game. For me, I have no control over it, so there's no point in getting rattled over it.
"... I think it's a tough area to call because it puts the refs in a spot. The game's so fast, the game's so quick to be honest. They probably don't have the time to see everything either, but it's when the replays happening ... I don't really have a solution for it. The league I'm sure will because there's a lot of different topics about that conversation I hope at some point during the year it doesn't blow a playoff series or something like that. That's the unfortunate part. It's tough to comment on, to be honest."
Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo said he didn't get much of an explanation either.
"I don't know. I thought it was (goaltender interference), but that's not my call, right," he said. "That's what we pay the refs for.
"Seems like it (is a gray rule). A lot of chatter about it at the All-Star Game. I don't know what they're going to do to figure out what's what."
The 1-0 Boston lead lasted into the third period and really forced the Blues to play a different game, and it certainly showed particularly in the second period when the Blues were outshot 22-6.
But back to Allen, who started for the first time in 23 days, it was arguably one of his better performances of the season. He stopped 43 of 45 shots but was beaten by Patrice Bergeron's power-play goal 9:05 into the third period.
Allen said he felt, "Great. I felt like myself. Just ready to go, waiting for my chance. I thought I gave the boys a chance, just wasn't enough tonight.
"I was just looking forward to any start. It's tough to get in there right now. I need to win my job back. I thought I played an honest, hard game tonight, but we didn't come up with a good enough effort tonight."
Allen did his job in the second period and then some, making 22 saves, to keep the Blues within one shot of tying the game.
|(St. Louis Blues photo)|
Jaden Schwartz (left) beats Boston goalie Tuukka Rask for the Blues'
lone goal in a 3-1 loss to the Bruins on Thursday.
The Blues were outshot in the second period and spent much of the period in their zone and fending off the Boston forecheck.
"It's great," Pietrangelo said. "The second period, he was phenomenal. He made some great saves. He was outstanding. ... That second period especially, he made some unbelievable saves. That was a great performance."
Jaden Schwartz finally got the Blues on the board to make it 2-1 with a sixth-attacker goal with 1:32 remaining, but it was his backhand literally in front of Tuukka Rask that could have tied the game 1-1 at 1:45 of the third that really could have changed the momentum of the game.
"It was just a bouncing puck and tried to get it on my backhand," Schwartz said. "He made a good save. We had some chances, but I don't think we wore them down to create more that way.
The Blues simply ran out of time after David Backes scored an empty-netter with 0.4 seconds remaining and out of answers to try and explain what wasn't called early.
"I'm not sure. The guy fell. I don't even know the rule," Schwartz said. "I don't know who makes the decisions, but they called a goal on the ice and I don't know if that plays a factor or not."