Lightning in disbelief after two questionable calls from NHL officials to end the period.

What is going on here?


The officiating in the closing minutes of the second period in game 4 of the first round series between the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning is raising quite a few questioning eyebrows for those tuning into the game.

The Lightning are not the least bit happy after a pair of calls during the game's second period have really come off as the kind of calls you would expect to see in a game where the National Hockey League's officials are trying to keep things close. The first was a roughing call awarded to the Lightning's Eric Cernak, not the worst call you will ever see but given the added context of the call that would follow it felt like a pretty soft penalty.

I could understand the officials merely trying to control a game that was getting out of hand, at this stage the Lightning had taken a commanding 5 - 1 lead over the Panthers, however the call that would come next against Nikita Kucherov had even the NHL broadcasters up in arms over the call. Kucherov, who was on a partial breakaway, was hit from behind while attempting to give his team another goal only to crash into Panthers goaltender Chris Driedger instead.

Here's the replay for that penalty.

You can hear the members of the broadcast openly voice their outrage at the call on the ice and at one point the official who made the call is even disparaged by name, something that is relatively rare in the league given just how much the NHL tends to protect its officiating crews. That being said both the Lightning and Kucherov himself could also be seen expressing their complete disbelief at the call, and frankly I find it difficult to blame them for being upset with this one. I suspect that the call may have gone in a different direction had this been a closer game rather than what is quickly turning into a blowout on the part of the Lightning, but that is of course only speculation on my part. 

There's still one more period to go in this one and, with tempers already flaring on both sides of the ice, its likely going to be a good one.