SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Blackhawks winger Viktor Stalberg raised his arms in celebration. He had just scored the go-ahead goal in the second period, putting a loose puck past San Jose Sharks goalie Antti Niemi.
But wait ... referee Greg Kimmerly had whistled the play dead. The goal was no good. Kimmerly thought Niemi had the puck buried in his pads after stopping Jack Skille's initial shot.
"He admitted he was wrong that he blew the whistle too early," Hawks captain Jonathan Toews said after the Sharks pulled out a 2-1 win in overtime. "Although you appreciate that, it still doesn't give you the 2-1 lead.
"You're not going to sit here and let something that happens like that dictate the final score of the game. Sometimes that's going to happen, whether you get a bad penalty call against you that you disagree with or a goal gets called back. You can't let it dictate the outcome of the game. We were right there to the end. It could have been our game. We didn't get the bounces and didn't find a way to score."
It was a big moment in a tight game dominated by the strong play of Niemi and Corey Crawford. Niemi and Crawford both finished with 28 saves. Ryane Clowe scored the game-winner with 1:08 left in overtime. Crawford's winning streak ended at seven games.
Stalberg would have ended his goalless streak, which increased to 11 games because of the disallowed goal, if it counted.
"It was a bad angle," Stalberg said. "I think he [blew the whistle] a little too quickly. That's a game-changer. Getting it there 2-1 would have been huge for us. It's too bad. It just seems to be the way things are going for me right now."
"It's one of those plays [that] sometimes they go against you," coach Joel Quenneville said. "You can't really complain. Sometimes there is a quick whistle. But I still thought we battled the whole game. We can't complain, but that was quick."
Only three penalties were called all game, and they all came in the first period. The physicality of the game escalated to a point where Joe Thornton punched Jonathan Toews in front of Niemi.
The Hawks, with their injury depleted roster, will take the point, but they knew two points were there for the taking. They matched the Sharks step for step in a game with a playoff feel to it.
"I thought we played an overall solid team game on the road," Stalberg said. "This game deserves a little better fate."