ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- The Blues come home to St. Louis with a 3-2 series lead and a chance to win the Stanley Cup Final on home ice, their first championship in franchise history.
They earned the series lead with a 2-1 win in Boston, but their second- and ultimately the deciding- goal came with controversy.
About 10 seconds before David Perron scored, Blues forward Tyler Bozak took Bruins winger Noel Acciari’s feet out from under him when Bozak’s knee swept under Acciari’s legs.
Acciari was upended, and fell to the ice right in front of a referee Kelly Sutherland.
Nearly everyone expected a penalty to be called, but play continued even as Acciari lay sprawled on the ice.
Perron tried to send a pass to Bozak, which was broken up, but the puck slid right back to Perron’s stick. The Blues forward skipped his shot through the five hole on Tukka Rask and put the Blues up 2-0.
The Bruins would later score to pull within a goal, but Perron’s controversial scoring opportunity gave the Blues enough to hold on.
After the game the Bruins were upset, and head coach Bruce Cassidy wasn’t shy about voicing his complaints on the officiating, calling it “egregious.”
He begins talking about several hits from Blues players that many Boston supports viewed as being to the head, something the NHL has paid heavy lip service toward eliminating. Then, he talked about Perron’s goal.
“I sat here two days ago, whenever it was, and said I believe these officials are at this level because they’ve earned the right to be here and you should be getting the best. But, I mean, the narrative changed after Game 3. There was a complaint or whatever put forth by the opposition and it just seems to have changed everything,” he said. “The non call on Acciari, their player is on his way to the box. It’s right in front of the officials. It’s a slew-foot. Our guy’s gone. The spotter took him out of the game for a possible concussion. It’s blatant, it has a big effect on the game. I’m a fan of the game but the National Hockey League is getting a black eye with their officiating these playoffs. Here’s 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 made it really difficult for us to get the win tonight. So I’m disappointed. I guess to answer your original question (what did you think of the officiating?) it was egregious.”
The NHL’s head of officiating Stephen Walkom offered a little in the way of a response, telling a pool reporter, “We don’t make comments on judgment calls within games. There are hundreds of judgment calls in every game. The official on the play, he viewed it and he didn’t view it as a penalty at the time.”
Certainly the Blues won’t have any sympathy, as they lost Game 3 of the conference finals on a blatant hand-pass when San Jose’s Timo Meier batted the puck to a teammate for the game-winning goal.
St. Louis responded by ripping off three wins, hammering the Sharks 5-0 and 5-1 in the final two games of the series.
The Bruins will look to follow suit and extend the series long enough to get back to Boston, but if the Blues can stifle their rebound, they’ll be celebrating in St. Louis.