Upon further reviews: Oilers see goals reversed in OT loss vs. Blues

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The Edmonton Oilers may have been diplomatic in how they expressed their disapproval, but the underlying message was crystal clear.

Three goal reviews went against them in a 3-2 overtime loss to the St. Louis Blues on Monday — the last two of which left them questioning the outcome.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins appeared to score at 6:11 of the second period, a goal that would have put the Oilers up 2-0.

But the Blues challenged for goaltender interference and the goal was overturned because Zach Hyman contacted Jordan Binnington’s right shoulder moments before Nugent-Hopkins slid the puck between his legs. It was deemed by the NHL that “Hyman impaired Binnington’s ability to play his position in the crease prior to Nugent-Hopkins’ goal.”

Just 2:04 later, with the Blues on a power play, captain Brayden Schenn ripped a shot past Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner to tie the game. Skinner immediately indicated that Blues winger Alexey Toropchenko interfered with his blocker and right pad. Oilers coach Kris Knoblauch challenged the call but came up empty.

“Both of them were really close,” Knoblauch said. “The one we challenged that didn’t go our way, what we saw was the forward’s stick into Stu’s pad — enough that there was flexion in his stick.

“You couldn’t really tell in the situation like that how much it influenced (the goal), but just the fact it was enough flexion in the stick, and then it beats him on that side where he’s coming from, we felt it was a pretty good opportunity to challenge that. They didn’t see it the way we did.”

To Knoblauch’s point, the overhead angle shows that Toropchenko’s flicks the right side of the Oilers goaltender with enough force that his stick briefly bends. Toropchenko was standing outside the crease to provide a screen but reached into the blue paint to connect with Skinner.

“I felt the pad (with his stick),” Skinner said. “He kind of stuffed me in the pad. Because just how a stick is made — he’s a pretty tall guy — the shaft didn’t allow me to get my blocker down to the puck. That’s what I was frustrated with.

“Really hard for a ref to see it, so I understand his point of view because he can’t really see under my blocker. It kind of catches my hand and I’m not able to make a save. But that’s the game. There’s tough calls to be made. Sometimes it doesn’t go your way.”

According to Oilers TV’s Tony Brar, Skinner and Oilers captain Connor McDavid sought a more detailed explanation from referee Furman South during the next TV timeout.

Skinner provided a summation of South’s rationalization for the goal standing.

“I think he just kind of saw there wasn’t a ton of action between me and (Toropchenko),” Skinner said. “His explanation was (Toropchenko) wasn’t trying to interfere — he was just trying to get a tip in. I’m guessing a lot of people who try to do that aren’t trying to interfere with the goalies, they’re trying to get a goal in.

“Again, I’m not blaming the ref. I wouldn’t want to be in that position if I was him.”

The Oilers were already short-handed when that Schenn goal occurred. The unsuccessful challenge put them right back to the penalty kill.

Leon Draisaitl then took a tripping penalty 49 seconds later to put the Oilers down two skaters. They came out of that situation unscathed, but it impacted their flow and offence.

“In the second period, with how many penalties we had, it just kind of took away our ability to build something,” Knoblauch said. “Any time you take that many penalties, especially in that short of time in the second period, it’s tough to get your guys going.”

Added Skinner: “It was a long game. The refs had a couple tough choices to make. Sometimes the game kind of happens like that, but you just got to do your best to keep momentum in some sort of way. The momentum wasn’t on our side today.

“I thought the guy interfered with me. Really hard for the ref to see it. We get a penalty. Then we’re on the PK for basically the whole second period. Momentum was definitely on their side, and I thought we did a good job of doing enough to gain it back.”

Schenn scored his second goal of the game at 1:44 of the third period on a two-on-one to give the Blues their first lead.

The Oilers fought back. Draisaitl’s dump-in was retrieved by McDavid and quickly returned to him for what looked like an easy goal at 14:35.

Draisaitl’s 39th marker, made possible by McDavid’s 97th assist, secured the Oilers a point from this game. They couldn’t make it two in overtime.

Ryan McLeod and Mattias Ekholm got crossed up by the Blues bench and St. Louis winger Brandon Saad, just getting onto the ice behind Ekholm, was off on a breakaway. Saad finished his chance to end the game.

The Oilers missed out on a second point and have to settle with being five points behind the Vancouver Canucks for the Pacific Division lead with a game in hand. Edmonton has nine games left on its schedule.

“We made a mistake, and I wasn’t able to bail a guy out,” Skinner said. “But we showed our maturity. We came back.”

The Oilers also had a goal immediately waved off when Evander Kane deflected a shot in with a high stick at 16:13 of the first period. That call was upheld upon a league review.

Kane’s goalless drought was extended to 19 games as a result.

(Photo of Brandon Saad of the Blues scoring in overtime against Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner: Jeff Le / USA Today)

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