After game 2, I honestly didn’t think it was possible for an officiating crew to have a worse night. The Montreal Canadiens received zero power plays and watched numerous infractions by the Vegas Golden Knights go uncalled. Surely there was nowhere for the quality of officiating to go but up.
It looked like “game management” since the Canadiens spent a significant amount of that game with a lead. It was frustrating, but at least there was that explanation — however ridiculous it may be — to answer why the officiating was as bad as it was.
Somehow, the officiating managed to get even worse for Game 3. This time, however, the Canadiens didn’t lead the game once all the way up to Josh Anderson’s game winner in overtime. It wasn’t game management, it was just brutally one sided.
Alas, I’m only going to show one missed call this time, because it was so obvious that there’s no palatable excuse for missing it. It pretty much sums up the night from the officials. You’ve probably seen it by now, exhibit A:
This not being called is worthy of an investigation lmao pic.twitter.com/KCR0bqkfgb— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) June 19, 2021
I agree with Pete, this honestly warrants a sit down with those officials to explain themselves. This is the most obvious double minor you can get. The only defense for not calling it would be “I didn’t see it,” which would be tantamount as a referee to admit you just weren’t watching the game at all since the puck was literally right there. There’s no excuse. It’s an embarrassment.
And there were plenty of other missed calls on the night. Four calls were made against the Tricolore and just two against the Knights. I felt the Jesperi Kotkaniemi hooking call was pretty weak, but the other three against Montreal were fair. Again, the issue is not really what they’re calling against the Habs, but the multitude of infractions they’re ignoring from the Knights.
I realize that a second straight article complaining about officiating may cement my homer status in the eyes of many. I have a dog in the race of course, but other fan bases, as well as the mainstream media are starting to take notice of how brutally one-sided the officiating has been in this series.
That’s two blatant penalties on Vegas that weren’t called this period.— Danny Webster (@DannyWebster21) June 19, 2021
Honestly. This is some of the worst officiating I've ever seen in a game. It's the Stanley Cup semifinal.— Eric Engels (@EricEngels) June 19, 2021
Danny Webster is a Knights fan who also manages our sister site Knights on Ice. Craig Button is a known detractor of the Montreal Canadiens. Eric Engels is a Montreal beat reporter, but he’s not someone you often see complaining about officials — I find him to be quite measured.
Dom Luszczyszyn took a lot of heat from Habs fans online because his model predicted little success for our team in the playoffs. He’s an advanced stats guy without the bias of someone like myself, so he wouldn’t be putting an article like that out there if it wasn’t rooted in unbiased observation.
Everyone is taking notice at this point. Gary Bettman was in attendance at the Bell Centre last night, and I wonder if he took notice, or simply made a mental note to fine anyone who dared to speak about it after the game. I hope for the former, but I suspect the latter.
In the end, it didn’t matter. Carey Price turned in a performance for the ages. The Tricolore outright refused to give up when all hope seemed lost. They capitalized on a Marc Andre Fleury mistake to get into overtime, and then took their game up to where it needed to be in that frame.
The way this team has dealt with adversity is incredible. They shouldn’t have to deal with it coming from the officials, but they have, and admirably at that.