By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Officiating should never make this much of a negative impact on a Stanley Cup Final game. And despite the Bruins' mistakes and missed opportunities leading up to the game-winning goal for the Blues on Thursday night in Boston, this was too egregious to ignore.
The mistake was not a call, but a non-call. The Stanley Cup version of the NFC Championship Game fiasco between the Saints and Rams. Blues forward Tyler Bozak clearly trips the Bruins' Noel Acciari along the half-boards - if not slew-foots him. No call. David Perron circles around two Bruins and smacks it through Tuukka Rask's five-hole on the rebound to give the Blues a 2-0 lead, and that turned out to be the game-winner.
It simply should not have happened.
There's no question that if the Bruins capitalized on their opportunities earlier in the game, we're not even talking about this. And at the same time, Perron's shot looked like a stoppable puck for Rask. Joakim Nordstrom and Torey Krug look more like cones as they were probably as shocked as everyone else watching.
But there's no forgiving the officials for failing to whistle Bozak on that play. Perron's goal will live on forever as one of the most controversial in history. It will mark either the moment the Bruins were galvanized on the way to a two-game winning streak and Stanley Cup championship, or the moment the big, tough Blues completely demoralized a Bruins team that has been frustrated offensively through five games.
Unbelievable. Noel Acciari is tripped and the Blues score to make it 2-0. This is a joke pic.twitter.com/6qrwz1WoKd
— Evan Marinofsky (@emarinofsky) June 7, 2019
“It’s a missed call, I think it’s a big outcome in the game, they scored a goal off it and it ends up being the game-winner,” Acciari said after the game. “Just kind of embarrassing.
“Biggest stage of hockey right now. I don’t know what else I can say about it."
Head coach Bruce Cassidy was a little more direct and incendiary with his comments on how badly the officiating affected the third period.
“Their player’s on his way to the box. I mean it’s right in front of the official. It’s a slew foot," Cassidy said. "Our guy’s gone, our spotter took [Acciari] out of the game for a possible concussion. I mean it’s blatant. Big effect in the game … I’m a fan of the game. This is the National Hockey League getting a black eye with their officiating this playoff. This is another one that’s going to be talked about.
"I thought it was a great hockey game. That call probably - I mean there’s time, but it really made it difficult for us to get the win tonight, so I’m disappointed. I guess to answer your original question, it was egregious."
There's a lot to unpack from this game, and the Bruins' downfall certainly wasn't entirely the officiating when you look at the totality of it. But it was unquestionably another heinous error from the officials to miss the call on Acciari. If this wasn't the officials directly affecting the outcome of a Cup Final game, I don't know what is.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].