St. Louis Blues coach Craig Berube questioned the penalty calls in the Stanley Cup Final after his team allowed four power play goals in a 7-2 Game 3 defeat.
“We were the least penalized team in the league in the first three rounds, now all of a sudden we’ve taken  penalties in one series. So I don’t know. I don’t buy into all of that, to be honest with you,” he said. “I think that we could definitely be more composed after the whistle. I think we’ve let some frustration get in there where we maybe do too much after the whistle. So we’ll clean that up, for sure. But like I said, we were the least penalized team in the league coming into this series. I don’t agree with all of the calls.”
The Blues averaged 6.2 penalty minutes per game through the first three rounds; that number has nearly doubled to 12.0 penalty minutes per game in the Stanley Cup Final. Boston has also spent more time in the box, going from 6.4 penalty minutes per game to 8.7 through the first three games of the Final.
The Cup Final officials are no strangers to the Blues, having worked their games throughout the playoffs. Referees Steve Kozari and Kelly Sutherland worked Games 1 and 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, along with Games 1 and 5 of the Western Conference Final between the Blues and the San Jose Sharks. The pairing also officiated Game 3 of Blues vs. Stars.
Refs Gord Dwyer and Chris Rooney handled Game 2, as well as Game 4 of their Western Conference Final against the Sharks and Game 1 of the Blues’ second round series against the Stars. Both were Blues wins. Rooney also worked the Blues’ Game 7 double-overtime win over the Stars.
Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy – whose team currently leads the best-of-seven series two games to one – was a bit more diplomatic in his assessment. At least, for now.
Cassidy had no problem with the officials “until they stink.”
“I didn’t have too many beefs the other night. Apparently they did, so they voiced theirs. We’re going to be ready to go and if they take penalties, hopefully we can capitalize on the power play,” Cassidy said. “That’s one way to sometimes dampen the enthusiasm with their physicality if you make them pay on the power play, and that’s our ultimate goal.”
“We’re ready for a physical game and we’re not going to concern ourselves with the officials – until they stink and they go against us, right?,” Cassidy said.
The Bruins are 6-for-14 (43%) on the power play in the series, having gone 4-for-4 in Game 3. Boston has power play goals in seven straight games are are 35.9% during the playoffs. St. Louis has scored just once with the man advantage, going 1-for-10 (10%) in the Stanley Cup Final and just 18% in the postseason.
‘They have a lot of options and it’s been a very good power play all year long,” Berube said Monday. “We have to do a better job at getting in some shooting lanes and blocking shots, and stay out of the box.”
That’ll be key for the Blues in Game 4. It’s all up to them — and the officials.