It's a test: Blues must focus after blown call

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Despite a missed hand pass that led to St. Louis’ loss Wednesday, the Blues say they can’t dwell on what happened while they look to come back from a 2-1 deficit to the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference finals.

“It is hard [to move on], for sure. It’s not easy to do. It’s a test. That’s how you look at it,” coach Craig Berube said Thursday. “It’s a tough play, tough call, but it’s just a test, and we’ve been tested over and over throughout the season and the playoffs, and I think we’re pretty good at bouncing back. That’s the way I look at it. It’s a mental thing more than anything.”

A hand pass by the Sharks’ Timo Meier — undetected by the on-ice officials and not reviewable under NHL rules — led to Erik Karlsson‘s overtime game winner and the 5-4 victory.

Berube felt his team was moving past the controversy, rather than using it as a rallying cry. Blues players echoed the sentiment.

“We had chances to close the game out. We didn’t. Play happened in overtime, we move on, move forward and look to Game 4,” said forward Brayden Schenn.” I think we’ve all seen it. Move on from it, don’t worry about it.”

Forward Vladimir Tarasenko said there’s no reason to bring up the controversy because “it’s not going to change” no matter how many times it’s discussed.

“We have [the] option to discuss it for next days and be not ready for next game or just step over it,” Tarasenko said. “We’re down in the series, but we have a chance to tie it again. It’s our focus and focus on ourselves. … There’s a lot of stuff around. It’s your guys’ job to do this too, but [it’s] our job to prepare ourselves, and I think the best way to prepare is to stay tight and focus on our game and not anything going [on] outside of the team.”

There was some good news for those who had wagered on the Blues on Wednesday. A few sportsbooks announced that they were refunding losing bets on the Blues.

But that’s no compensation for the Blues.

Whenever a controversial call affects the outcome of a game, the immediate reaction is often outrage. Blues players smashed their sticks on the ice, and general manager Doug Armstrong profanely shouted his displeasure while banging on the officials’ dressing room door. But eventually, those emotions can become more introspective; for example, the fact that there wouldn’t have been the opportunity for the officials to miss the call in overtime had the Blues not given up a game-tying goal to Logan Couture at 18:59 of the third period.

“We scored four goals in a playoff game, we should win it,” said Berube. “Some of it is self-inflicted by us on the goals. We’ve got to clean that up a little bit.”

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