The NHL apologized to the New Jersey Devils after a bad call led to two Canadiens goals, including the game-winner.
The pivotal penalty came just 28 seconds into the third period of a 1-1 game. New Jersey’s Karl Stollery was given a major for boarding. A roughing minor to Montreal’s Torrey Mitchell left the teams playing four aside, with the Habs ending up with a three-minute power play.
Montreal scored twice on the three-minute man advantage, taking a 3-1 lead.
“The referee made the call in the game,” said New Jersey Devils head coach John Hynes after the game. “He saw it live. That was his decision. We’ve got to find a way to be able to kill it better than we did.”
“The only explanation I got was that they felt it was a dangerous hit. At that point they’re not going to explain too much. They made the call. It is what it is at that point.”
The Devils’ coach also called some of the penalties against his club “erratic” and challenged the consistency of calls by the league’s officials.
Hynes received a call from NHL Senior VP and Director of Officiating Stephen Walkom the day after the game.
“I got a call from the referee-in-chief today. They reviewed that call last night. He said it wasn’t the right call.”
“They sent video clips to the referees to go over that. I respect that by the referee-in-chief. Like anyone, they are trying to work to get better. It was a mistake by the referee. It’s live action…”
“At least there’s clarification to our players of what is and what isn’t [a penalty] and what should’ve been called. That’s much appreciated and professional.”
According to North Jersey.com’s Andrew Gross, Hynes added that this was the first time this season the league contacted him to say a wrong call had been made.
Hynes said he was told the appropriate call should have been a two-minute minor for cross-checking.