With under 11 minutes remaining in the third period, Vegas led comfortably by three goals as San Jose looked almost completely dead in the water. Knights forward Cody Eakin took a faceoff against San Jose’s Joe Pavelski and gave the Sharks captain a slight cross-check, knocking him off balance before colliding with Vegas’ Paul Stastny. The collision caused Pavelski to fall to the ice — his head breaking his fall.
While Eakin likely should’ve received a minor penalty for cross-checking, he was instead assessed a five-minute major penalty and game misconduct. The controversial call allowed San Jose to score four goals in as many minutes on the power play, eventually leading to a 5-4 Sharks victory in overtime.
Pavelski has yet to play a game since his scary injury in Game 7, but he did travel with the Sharks to Denver for his team’s Game 6 battle against the Colorado Avalanche. He spoke to the media for the first time since that highly debated call in Game 7, and he admitted himself that the call on Eakin was wrong, courtesy of friend of the site Sheng Peng from Fear the Fin.
Pavelski admits it wasn't a major penalty: "I played against those guys for a lot of years. Friends with [Stastny]. I got no issues with that play. Was it a 5-minute major? No. I don't think it was. Am I glad they called it they way? Heck yeah."— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) May 5, 2019
Pavelski isn’t the only one to step forward and admit the call was excessive. In fact, the NHL even issued an apology to Vegas’ president of hockey operations George McPhee after Game 7.
Of course, nothing can change the result of Vegas’ heartbreaking season-ending loss. But this all does add a bit of extra flavor to the Golden Knights’ already spicy rivalry with San Jose. The next matchup between these two teams should be quite the show.