Game One of the Stanley Cup Final between the San Jose Sharks and the Pittsburgh Penguins was a nail-biter. With the two teams trading two-goal periods – Pittsburgh in the first and San Jose in the second – the clock ticked down on a game that looked to go right down to the wire.
Pittsburgh’s Nick Bonino scored with 2:33 remaining, throwing a wrench in the works of what appeared to be an inevitable overtime showdown (and robbing many of a shot at one of the few remaining Buccigross Overtime Challenges).
A late power play gave the Sharks a solid chance to knot the game back up. Even with goaltender Martin Jones on the bench for an extra attacker, San Jose couldn’t generate a decent scoring chance.
It looked like time would run out. With 8 seconds left, the Penguins’ Kris Letang cleared the puck the length of the ice. The Sharks’ Marc-Edouard Vlasic got there first, but there was no whistle.
Time, to paraphrase Steve Miller – not the linesman – kept on ticking. As it should have.
Here’s rule 81.6 to help clarify:
When a team is “short-handed” as the result of a penalty and the penalty is about to expire, the decision as to whether there has been an “icing” shall be determined at the instant the penalty expires.
Should the puck be released from the stick of the player shooting the puck down the ice prior to the penalty expiring, the icing infraction shall not apply.
Letang fired the puck down the ice just before time had expired on the penalty to Ben Lovejoy.
As frustrating as it may have seemed for Sharks fans, it was the right call by veteran linesmen Derek Amell and Jonny Murray.