ST. LOUIS — Erik Karlsson scored 5:23 into overtime after officials missed a hand pass by Timo Meier, and the San Jose Sharks rallied to beat the St. Louis Blues 5-4 on Wednesday night to take a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference final.

Meier used his right hand to knock a loose puck toward the front of the net. Gus Nyquist then passed it over to Karlsson, who beat Jordan Binnington for his second goal of the game.

Binnington and the Blues complained immediately about Meier’s pass. The officials huddled while Karlsson and the Sharks celebrated, but the play wasn’t reviewable and the goal stood.

Game 4 of the best-of-seven series is Friday night in St. Louis.

The Blues led 4-3 before Logan Couture tied it with 61 seconds left in regulation. Joe Thornton scored twice for San Jose, and Martin Jones made 28 saves.

David Perron had two goals for St. Louis, and Vladimir Tarasenko and Alexander Steen also scored. Colton Parayko had three assists, and Binnington made 27 stops.

The Blues trailed 2-0 after one and 3-1 in the second before rallying.

Tarasenko, who faced criticism after a lackluster performance in Game 1, started the comeback with his first goal in six games at 4:05 of the second. Perron tied it by beating Jones on the stick side with a wrist shot from the left dot with 3:57 left in the period.

St. Louis went on a power play after Brent Burns took down Oskar Sundqvist late in the period. Perron scored his second goal of the series a minute later, giving the Blues the lead with their first power-play goal in 19 chances with the man advantage.

It was Perron’s first multigoal playoff performance in 73 games.

After an early Blues push, the Sharks grabbed control in the first.

Blues defenseman Vince Dunn departed with 8:35 left in the first after getting hit in the face by a Brenden Dillon shot, forcing St. Louis to mix and match five defensemen.

San Jose then jumped in front when Karlsson intercepted a Joel Edmundson clearing attempt and beat Binnington with a wrist shot through traffic at 13:37.

Thornton made it 2-0 with 3:02 left in the first, scoring on a backhander after Robert Bortuzzo blocked a Marc-Edouard Vlasic shot.

Steen got the Blues on the board at 1:18 of the second, but Thornton answered 18 seconds later with his second goal of the game, giving him his first multigoal playoff game over 176 games in a 22-year career.

SABRES: Ralph Krueger bar-hopped around Buffalo, watching a period of NHL playoff hockey at each spot and talking to Sabres fans along the way.

He had already decided to return to the NHL, and the experience solidified that he wanted to make that comeback as Buffalo’s coach. Krueger changed his mind on coaching again just in time to give the Sabres the experience they desire behind the bench.

“I could just feel the coaching magnet calling me back,” Krueger said Wednesday after being named Sabres coach. “I stayed very close to the game. All the relationships I built over the years are warm. I’ve been in contact with multiple head coaches over these last years. It’s always been my startup site, NHL.com. Watching games and observing the way the league is operating has always been important to me.”

Krueger spent the past five years as chairman of English Premier League soccer club Southampton FC, a different kind of experience he hopes to draw from for his latest challenge. The project-oriented Manitoba native, who played and coached hockey in Europe, talked to Sabres general manager Jason Botterill two summers ago but wasn’t going to leave Southampton until his job there was completed.

With that now in his rearview mirror, Krueger returns to the NHL, where he coached the Edmonton Oilers in 2013 and spent two seasons as an assistant with them before that. Despite being fired via Skype after just one lockout-shortened season, Krueger said he harbors no hard feelings toward the Oilers but believes this is much more of a win-now situation compared to a full-scale rebuild he dealt with in Edmonton.

“This group is ready to become a contender and to compete with anybody on any given night,” Krueger said. “I’m confident that we can become that kind of a team quite quickly.”

Krueger only has 48 games of NHL head-coaching experience, but Botterill said the team’s brass put a lot of stock into international experience. Krueger coached Switzerland’s national team to Olympic appearances in 2002, 2006 and 2010 and took Team Europe on a surprising run at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

BLUE JACKETS: With free agent Sergei Bobrovsky expected to depart, Columbus has locked in goaltender Elvis Merzlikins for next season.

General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen said Wednesday the Blue Jackets signed the 25-year-old Latvian to a one-year contract for 2019-20. Merzlikins is expected to compete for the starting job.