Referees Reward San Jose Divers All Night Long

Two games in two nights. Occasionally that’s the norm during the course of a NHL schedule. Both teams need to show up banged in bruised, only problem, this time it’s a playoff game. What’s the big deal? Well have you seen the crash and bang style San Jose and Calgary adopt on the ice? It’s a surprise nobody hasn’t gone off with more injuries yet–soon and very soon we suppose.

Calgary marched back into the HP Pavillion for the second of two games in as many nights looking to go up 2-0 in the best of seven series. The Flames took an early lead in the series last night with an unexpected win against the second seeded Sharks. No matter about last night though, task at hand was tonight’s game and questions on how Calgary would respond.

Something had to give, a goal by San Jose and the skeptical crowd would erupt. A goal by Calgary may have stopped the home team for good. Turns out, in true Calgary fashion, they’d let the wheels fall off for part of the game, in this case the second period. First was a absolute soft goal by Kiprusoff who was to casual on the flutter wrister. The softie was a game changer as Calgary decided to return to old ways–with some help from the refs.

The second period saw four straight penalties against Calgary. Four penalties in a playoff game is unusual, four soft penalties in the same period against the same team is just plain un-called for. To add injury to insult Nolan broke in right after the last Calgary penalty on a breakaway and was tripped–no call.

One-Sided Reffing Ruined Playoff Game

But can you believe it, things would get worse. Not one, but two additional penalties. First Yelle on a cross-check coupled with a great San Jose dive. Vandermeer then took a slashing call after Thornton literally threw himself into the boards to draw another penalty.

The damage by San Jose? Only one goal surprisingly, 9 seconds before the final penalty expired, and only after a sequence where three Shark players crashed the net. Miikka Kiprusoff did his part keeping the game close

Mike Keenan laid into the refs for the better part of the intermission and of course they responded with a bunch of soft calls for Calgary. It’s somewhat routine, when refs change the complexion of the game they try to ‘even things up’ but in reality the game has already changed permanently. Too little too late from the stripes; Calgary couldn’t capitalize on any of their powerplay chances coming.

Nabokov Lucky to be Good

Calgary laid out a nice finish in an attempt to break the shut out but they (and by they I mean Owen Nolan) were absolutely robbed by sprawling Nabakov. On the ensuing play where Nolan shot straight into the glove, Calgary went on the PK AGAIN after ‘slashing’ call. After that kill, another ‘cross-checking’ call on Sarich.

WOW, who could have thought the reffing could get worse! Damage done, but game two clearly handed to San Jose on a silver platter. Good news for the Flames, stay out of the box, win the series.

In the duel of the goalies, Kipper lost the second installment. What happens in game three in Calgary will be revealed on Sunday. In the meantime Calgary can regroup and appreciate they took one in San Jose.

[tags]nhl refs, calgary flames, san jose sharks[/tags]