Tonight's referees could spell trouble for the Oilers.

Tonight's referees could spell trouble for the Oilers.

The Edmonton Oilers have not had a lot of success under these two National Hockey League referees.

Jonathan Larivee

The Edmonton Oilers are set to take on the Florida Panthers in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final just a few hours from now, but will the Oilers find themselves with an early disadvantage in this series?

If you're looking at things from purely a numbers perspective you might be led to believe so, with the Oilers seemingly at a significant disadvantage when it comes to the officials who will be overseeing the first game of this series. That role will be filled by both Steve Kozari and Dan O'Rourke, two officials that the Oilers have not done well with in the past.

What do I mean by not done well? How about the Oilers haven't won a single game with either official on the ice in these Stanley Cup playoffs.

When referee Steve Kozari has been on the ice the Oilers boast a record of 0 wins and 2 losses in these playoffs and their record with O'Rourke on the ice is even worse with 0 wins and 3 losses for the Oilers. Those aren't great numbers for the Oilers coming into Game 1 of this series with both these officials on the ice tonight, and to make matters worse you can say the opposite for the Florida Panthers.

While Steve Kozari has been on the ice in these playoffs the Panthers have a record of 2 wins and only 1 loss, but their record with O'Rourke on the ice is a perfect one with 3 wins and 0 losses for the Panthers. In fact the Panthers have won 12 of their last 13 games with O'Rourke on the ice, with the only blemish on that record coming outside of regulation during the regular season leaving the Panthers with a record of 12-0-1 under O'Rourke in their last 13 games.

These are of course extremely small sample sizes and no one should take this as an indication of bias on the part of the National Hockey League's officials, one way or another. It is an interesting topic to discuss however, especially when the numbers are this heavily skewed in one direction ahead of one of the biggest games of the year.