It’s a postseason tradition. No matter what sport you enjoy, there's always blame to be laid upon officiating if your team loses a crucial game. But this is hitting a whole new level now.
Canadiens supporters and hockey fans in general were rightfully outraged at the officiating during Montreal's Game 4 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL semifinals on Monday, with many naturally taking to the interwebs to express their displeasure.
Sometimes the blame is justified, and in Game 4 it certainly was.
The outrage over referee Chris Lee’s performance on Sunday was colossal. Calls for him to never be in charge of another NHL game were spewing out of Quebec like gravy over fries and curds. Missed calls all over the ice were the prime contributors to the Canadiens’ 2-1 overtime loss.
Just an absolute disaster. Good lord.
The hockey world is in existential crisis mode in terms of officiating. After questionable decisions that influenced hockey games all over this postseason, the controversy seemed to bubble up and overflow on Sunday. Just an outpouring of emotion that was kept within by top-tier media members eventually rising to the surface and flowing from their tweeting fingers.
Through the first four games of this series, Vegas has been privy to a total of 11 power-play opportunities, while Montreal has had just six — including Sunday where they had just one PP and Game 2 when they had zero. A small-sample mismatch that cannot be the true calling of the rulebook.
The NHL handpicks the officiating teams for these late playoff rounds and because of COVID restrictions and limited travel, the same team of officials have been in place through the first four games in Las Vegas and Montreal.
The semifinal series is currently a draw at 2-2 with teams heading to the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas for Game 5 on Tuesday.
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