I have no words to describe what I’m feeling right now. This loss is a killer and I’m not sure there’s a worse way to lose a game of this importance. With the Montreal Canadiens ahead 2-0 on goals from P.K Subban and Alex Galchenyuk, there were two monumental refereeing mistakes that literally robbed the Canadiens of a win they desperately needed to make a series out of it. Canadiens fans have a somewhat deserved reputation for blaming refereeing, but I don’t see how this game wasn’t massively interfered with.
I’m still speechless, and this is going to be much less of a recap than an analysis of what happened in the last period of this game. With the Canadiens holding onto their lead, Mike Zibanejad directed a puck behind Carey Price with his foot. Somewhat predictably, it was called a goal and went to review in Toronto. The replay showed it quite clearly: there was distinct kicking motion that saw Zibanejad pull back his skate and push forward to direct the puck with his skate. The goal call on the ice stood, and quite frankly, it’s a disgrace that a sport that has video replay couldn’t determine that he kicked it into the net. In any case, it was now a 2-1 game and still in reach. The Canadiens went into a defensive shell for the rest of the game and the Senators were indeed pushing quite hard and most likely deserved the equal the score. The kicker, no pun intended, was that Erik Karlsson was allowed to very, very slowly make his way to a puck behind his goal line that was called for icing – in no way, shape or form did Karlsson seriously attempt to get that puck and it was almost rolling when it got to the goal line. I think Karlsson himself was surprised that icing was called, and play would continue until Price froze the puck. Here, another monumental error (this one that NHL has officially apologized for) by the refs meant that the Canadiens sent out the left-handed centerman, David Desharnais, to take the draw because it should have been on the left. The linesman instead called the faceoff to the right and the Canadiens couldn’t make the necessary switch. A tying goal was scored shortly after and to add salt to the wound, Carey Price was injured (looks like a groin) and Budaj was put in for overtime. The winner, from Kyle Turris, would bounce off of Raphael Diaz and into the net, giving the Senators a commanding 3-1 series lead.
Tonight, it pains me to think that the Canadiens lost a game because of the officials. I don’t like whining, I don’t want to whine but this game has an entirely different outcome if the rulebook had been followed. It’s incredible to me that 3 blown calls result in a 3-2 come-from-behind win. The Senators deserve the credit for pressing in the 3rd while the Canadiens sat back, but this game should have never gone to overtime.
The Canadiens aren’t done, obviously, but this is a crushing blow and a momentum draining loss. I don’t honestly have much to say, I’m pretty disheartened by what I saw tonight. Hopefully they can force a game 7 here, but with the loss of Carey Price, it might be too much to bear at this point. I still believe, but the hockey gods were not with the Canadiens for this series.