Blues defeated the Bruins, but the officials took center stage in the Stanley Cup finals

Blues defeated the Bruins, but the officials took center stage in the Stanley Cup finals
BOSTON - With his St. Louis Blues leading the Boston Bruins by a goal midway through the third period of a crucial game in a tied Stanley Cup final, Tyler Bozak brought down Noel Acciari.

This is indisputable.

Bozak hit his stick against Acciari's skate, then hit his leg, and Acciari recoiled, falling backward as if struck by a whip, his head hitting the ice.

There are no normal circumstances in N.H.L. The playoffs, where errors and official controversies have spread in each round, but if they did, the closest official would have blown his whistle, the play would have stopped and Bozak would have been penalized.

What developed in its place was a sequence that resulted in David Perron's decisive goal in a 2-1 victory that brought the Blues to the brink of their first Stanley Cup in their 52-year history, which they can reach as soon as they can. like Game 6 on Sunday. The night in St. Louis, and that resulted in chaos in every other corner of TD Garden.

Cam Neely, the president of the Bruins, released a bottle of water. Furious fans threw debris into the ice. Acciari knelt in the circle of confrontation while the Blues celebrated a few feet behind him.

Not long after, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy threw himself into a rule that condemned the postseason as a "black eye" in the league. I called Bozak's tactic, which sent Acciari to the concussion protocol of the league, both "flagrant" and "atrocious".

"Those are the punches that want to get out of the game, right?" Cassidy said. "That's what I hear a lot, clearly, they lost a couple of tonight."

On a night that overshadowed the return of his captain Zdeno Chara, not 72 hours after my jaw was reportedly broken, the Bruins also regretted having lost a couple, more than a couple, of the 39 shots that came to Blues. The goalkeeper Jordan Binnington.

Even when the players sanitized their fury by claiming that they did not lose due to the supervision of the officers, they were disconcerted by what happened, for them, at such a critical time.

"That's a penalty every time, there are no ifs, and there's a lot of detail about that," defender Torey Krug said. "I'm in favor of letting us play, but when this leads to scoring chances and the opposing team ends up with the puck, it should go our way."

Referees of Game 5, Steve Kozari and Kelly Sutherland, also won the Bruins' 4-2 victory in Game 1, when they had five power games, and their 7-2 victory in Game 3 when they scored four times in the man. advantage. The next day, Blues coach Craig Berube complained of a perceived imbalance, implying that he hoped players would be offered more room for maneuver in what has become a nasty physical series.

"We play a difficult game, we are a physical team, we check a lot," he said. "I'll say it again: we're the least penalized team in the playoffs, the end of the story, I do not need to talk about that anymore."

I should not have had to talk about that at all. As soon as Bozak lifted Acciari, I held his palms to his sides, as if waiting for a whistle, acknowledging his mistake and begging for absolution at once.

"Honestly I do not know," Bozak said. "It's a quick game, I could not say, I was fighting for the record."

The league said it does not respond to "trial calls" during the games.

"There are hundreds of trial trials in each game," said Stephen Walkom, league officiating director. "The official on the play, I've seen him and he did not see it as a penalty at that time."

There is no reproduction mechanism to review the non-call, and even as the N.H.L. Confrontations with similar problems that affect other sports that seek to correctly adjudicate all the plays, it seems that there is room to expand and account for a lost penalty that leads to a goal. Speaking before the series, commissioner Gary Bettman said league officials would continue to discuss possible alterations to the rules of repetition, aware of not disturbing the pace and flow of a game.

Any change would be a small consolation for the Golden Knights of Las Vegas, who received a five-minute penalty not deserved in Game 7 of the first round that was the return of the third period of the San Jose Sharks. Or the Colorado Avalanche, whose goal of a draw in Game 7 of the second round against San Jose was canceled by an offside that seemed to violate the spirit of the rule. Or the Blues, who suffered an illegal hand pass that led to the overtime victory of the Sharks in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals.