ST. LOUIS — A year ago Friday should be the anniversary of one of the most infamous moments in Blues history. But thanks to what happened after, it's barely even a memory.
On May 15, 2019, the San Jose Sharks got away with an illegal hand pass in overtime to beat the Blues in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final.
The game was dramatic throughout. The Blues had battled back to tie, and eventually take the lead 4-3 in the waning moments of the second period thanks to David Perron.
Then, with just about a minute left in regulation, Logan Couture tied the game and sent it to overtime.
Just over five minutes into overtime, Sharks forward Timo Meier batted a puck out of the air while laying on the ice, it eventually ends up on Erik Karlsson's stick and then behind Jordan Binnington in the Blues' net.
After a clear replay of the goal showed a blatantly illegal hand pass, the Enterprise Center exploded, and the Blues badgered the referees off the ice.
It was probably the maddest fans have ever seen this team. Jordan Binnington was visibly upset, and Brayden Schenn shattered his stick in frustration at the referees.
"I didn't really get an explanation. I guess there's two different sets of rules for two different teams," Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo said after the game. That's all I'm going to say about it."
That familiar sinking feeling that had been equated with being a Blues fan started to sink it. Is this going to be the next infamous moment to add to the list of St. Louis heartbreaks?
But this team proved us wrong.
Led by the always steady Craig Berube, the Blues just added the hand pass loss to the adversity they'd fought through all season.
St. Louis won the next three games, outscoring the Sharks 12-2, and headed to their first Stanley Cup Final since 1970.
Since that game, the two franchises have gone in completely different directions.
The Blues went on to win their first Stanley Cup in dramatic fashion, partied all summer and then raced out to be the top team in the Western Conference until play was paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Sharks wilted away in the 2019 playoffs, had to take stock of some of their bloated and under-performing contracts, lost their captain Joe Pavelski to Dallas in the offseason and found themselves with the fewest points in the Western Conference when the season was paused.
In the moment, the hand pass looked like another Blues heartbreak. It turned out to just be another layer making the run to the franchise's first Cup that much more special.