Carolina Hurricanes: Drop Game two in Washington Due to Bad Officiating

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 13: Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby (70) sprawls on the ice after giving up a first period goal to the Carolina Hurricanes on April 13, 2019, at the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. (Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 13: Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby (70) sprawls on the ice after giving up a first period goal to the Carolina Hurricanes on April 13, 2019, at the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. (Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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Yesterday was a terribly officiating game that went the way of the Capitals as the Carolina Hurricanes tried everything to keep up with the Stanley Cup Champions and almost left with a win.

This will not be your usual three takeaways from the game, because the Carolina Hurricanes played excellent hockey and absolutely deserved to win that game. That game should not have gone into OT with a tie. It should have ended with Carolina leaving after sixty with a split in DC ready to take a series lead back home.

If you do not want to read about how bad the officiating was during yesterday’s game two matchup between the Washington Capitals and the Carolina Hurricanes, I suggest you find another article to read. This entire game was dictated by the officiating. Terrible officiating on the Carolina Hurricanes and non-existent officiating on the Capitals.

Now before you say “the referees don’t score the goals, they can’t dictate the score” or “the capitals didn’t score a power play goal” I want to let you know that I am not the only one who thinks that the officiating ruined this game for the Hurricanes. Officiating goes a long way into telling players how they can play and our head coach knows this.

Rod Brind’amour let them have it during the game, to their face and in an interview with Pierre McGuire on the bench during a break in play. He was not a happy camper and not a single non-capital fan soul can blame him:

Of course he was talking about the clean hit that Micheal Ferland delivered to Nic Dowd. The hit send down sprawling and Ferland out of the game on a match penalty. Now from the angle of the video I am about to show you, it looks like a bad hit, but from another angle the angle the man wearing stripes has, you will see that it is Ferland’s back that makes contact with Dowds head.

Now I am not saying there isn’t a penalty on the play. Warren Foegele is obviously guilty of a high stick. It’s why Dowd reaches for his face BEFORE he makes contact with Ferland. This is why there sort of incidents need to be reviewed. Give me the eye in the sky that tells us that the hit was clean, but Foegele needed to sit for two.

The upcoming five minutes of penalty killing halted a hard offensive push by the Carolina Hurricanes. Not to mention numerous questionable offsides calls that always seemed to blow a tire into the Carolina offensive vehicle. But with all that the Carolina Hurricanes managed to score thrice.

The first goal came off a Lucas Wallmark sneaker past Braden Holtby, who spun like a top after getting touched by Saku Maenalanen who was well outside the paint. Naturally, the officiating took a look at that goal trying to find some reason to overturn it. What I want to know is where was the embellishment call?

Holtby is a veteran netminder with who has played nine years in the league. There is no way a rookie like Maenalanen, who was engaged with another Capitals player can catch him off guard and hit him like that to the point he spins a full 360 degrees. Holtby knew he was screened. He knew he wasn’t likely going to stop that puck, so he took a dive worthy of a full 10 points.

While the Capitals’ goalie was acting like an absolute fool, Petr Mrazek was on the other end playing like a man on fire. He made countless huge saves on some of the biggest names in the sport. Although one begins to wonder why they are the biggest names. Alex Ovechkin, I get, but the rest have been pumped up by NBC.

At one point of the game things got dangerous for Mrazek. After taking a puck to the neck that knocked both his helmet off his head and his equilibrium off balance, he fell to the ice with the puck still in play. Instead of blowing the play dead right there and then to ensure player safety and to check on Mrazek, the officials took their time to assess the situation.

That gave T.J. Oshie a few extra wallops with the puck to Petr’s face. Petr can only curl up in the fetal position awaiting the sweat release of the Officials whistles. Maybe Oshie thought that Petr Mrazek was literally on fire and was trying to put him out, but no player should be at the mercy of the officials like that, especially when completely defenseless. Again, no call.

We talk about protecting players from each other, but never do we need to talk about protecting players from the officials. Maybe we should. Thankfully, Mrazek was okay and healthy coming back even stronger and making constant game saving saves:

Despite seemingly playing nine on five or four hockey for most of the game, the Carolina Hurricanes managed to score twice. Both times to bring the game back to a tie. I cannot understate how difficult it is to play when the other team is playing loose with the officiating is on their side and you have to play like a kid trying to cross the street in a town where jaywalking is punishable by life in prison.

The second goal of the game belonged to Sebastian Aho who managed to finally break a drought that started in early March. It wasn’t the cleanest goal, but when it comes to punting the monkey off your back, you will take whatever you can get, especially when it comes after hard work and dedication to the play:

When the officials finally started calling a few penalties to the Capitals, which I am more than certain hit their wallets a bit, the Carolina Hurricanes played excellent power play hockey. That said, there were too many times that the Capitals would set up pick plays that would deny the Hurricanes to play their proper styles on both offense and defense.

It took until late in the third before the Carolina power play finally showed up on the scoresheet, but it was what was needed to at least force an overtime. It came off the stick of Jordan Staal who managed to deflect a Dougie Hamilton shot past Holtby to tie the game at three late in the third period.

While I can absolutely blame the referees for the game going into overtime when it should have ended in sixty with a possible empty netter against the Capitals, what I can’t blame the officiating on was the play in overtime that send the Hurricanes back to Raleigh empty handed.

The final play of the game is absolutely on the Hurricanes defense, and perhaps specifically Brett Pesce who not only screened Mrazek but denied him a chance to cut the angle on the puck and make the save. It was a momentary lapse in judgement, however it did cost the Carolina Hurricanes the game. But it was his very first NHL overtime 5v5. He can be forgiven:

Even if the Carolina Hurricanes get swept this series ( I doubt they will), they will learn valuable lessons during it that will apply next year and the year after that. There is much to learn from yesterday, and much to learn and apply to the next two games at home. Here is hoping that common sense prevails and Ferland is not given a suspension.

Must Read. One for the Future: Martin Necas. light

Question for CC Readers: Which moments were the most infuriating from yesterday’s game?