(HockeyStL) -- There was one boarding penalty called, which went against David Backes in the third period on Thursday night. Ken Hitchcock thought there could have been at least one more called in the 2-1 shootout victory against the Phoenix Coyotes.
“The dangerous play at the end against the boards,” Hitchcock said. “Our guy almost went to the fifth row. There’s no ice in the fifth row the last I looked -- from behind.”
Hitchcock is describing the event which led to the Coyotes scoring late in the third period to tie the game.
With the Coyotes on the power play for Backes’ boarding penalty, Martin Hanzal drilled Alex Pietrangelo from behind sending the defenseman face-first into the corner boards in the Blues zone. Shortly after, the puck was freed as everyone wearing a Blues sweater thought a penalty was sure to be called.
The whistle never sounded.
The loose puck came to a wide-open Radim Vrbata for a backhanded goal past Brian Elliott to tie the game with 1:07 left in the third period.
“The penalty that David took, you can’t take that penalty. You can’t take that penalty at that time and he knows that. But that’s not the one that bothers me,” Hitchcock said. “The one that bothers me is the dangerous play. We could have lost a player.
“Never mind they scored the goal, we could have lost a player and that bothers me. When you’re killing a penalty and you’re trying to clear a puck, you’re in a very vulnerable position. That one bothered me.”
Of course, the 17,205 fans in attendance voiced their opinion of the call immediately, but Hitchcock had to wait until after the game before chasing down a referee.
“No explanation, didn’t wait around for it,” Hitchcock added.
Hitchcock received a game misconduct after having a discussion (“discussion” probably used too loosely there) with the referee after Elliott stopped the final shot in shootout.
After being dumped on the play, Pietrangelo wasn’t going to add fuel to the fire.
“I’m not going to talk about at the end of the game,” Pietrangelo said. “You guys probably want to hear something. It wasn’t our best game but we found a way to win. We just got to get ready for tomorrow.”
Elliott, who stopped 33 of 34 shots, was happy to see the team escape with a win after the letdown in the final stages of the game.
“It created an advantage for them so they got the puck and passed it to an open guy,” Elliott said of the play. “Petro kind of got buried from behind. The same play that we had a couple of shifts before that. Unfortunate, but we’ll take the Ws anyway we can get them.”
The Blues will host the Dallas Stars on Friday at 7 p.m.