It is not many times where you’ll find me calling out the NHL referees in a hockey game. They have a very difficult challenge on a regular basis, and it is difficult to see everything that is on the ice.
But in today’s NHL, there are two of them– and on Monday night there were two instances where the referees made a decision, that went against the Oilers, and eventually cost them the hockey game in a 5-3 Vancouver win.
In the first period, it became very evident to me that Daniel Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks got away with a penalty. Sedin knocked down Oiler checking line forward Lennart Petrell, got into an open area, received a pass from his twin brother Henrik and put the puck past Nikolai Khabibulin to put the Canucks up 2-0. If Daniel Sedin doesn’t knock down Petrell in front of the net, he doesn’t have the open space to score. Khabibulin protested, but it was to no avail.
Then in the third period, with the Oilers having momentum and down by two, Ryan Smyth was called for interference. Smyth on this particular play was standing on the blue line because he didn’t want to be offside. A Canuck skated into him and fell down.
What Kelly Sutherland and Dave Jackson were thinking tonight, I’m not sure. But I expected better from two experienced referees.
In other action tonight, Cam Ward became the first goaltender this season and first in five years to be credited with a goal. Devils’ forward Ilya Kovalchuk attempted a pass with the goaltender pulled, but the puck got by Adam Henrique and all the way into the Devils’ net. Ward was the last Hurricane player to touch the puck and was credited with the goal in Carolina’s 4-2 win over New Jersey. Chris Mason of the Nashville Predators was the last goaltender to score a goal on April 15, 2006. Ward becomes the tenth goaltender in NHL history to achieve the feat.