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Pete DeBoer ‘not buying’ criticism of officiating in Habs series

Updated June 22, 2021 - 9:00 pm

Golden Knights coach Pete DeBoer wasn’t surprised by the disparity in penalties through the first four games of the Stanley Cup semifinals.

While the referees in the series, particularly Chris Lee and Dan O’Rourke, are under heavy criticism for their inconsistent standard of officiating, DeBoer isn’t joining the angry mob.

“The whole power play/penalties narrative that’s coming out, I’m not buying that,” DeBoer said Tuesday.

Entering Game 5 against Montreal at T-Mobile Arena, the Knights had a plus-five net penalty differential (12-7) and had 11 power plays to six for the Canadiens.

That translated to 20:03 of power-play time for the Knights in the series compared with 8:35 for Montreal.

Those numbers are consistent with the identities of both teams, according to DeBoer.

“We were one of the least penalized teams in the league during the regular season, and Montreal was one of the most,” DeBoer said. “If there’s a disparity there because they’re calling it looser or tight, I think that disparity is the same as it was during the regular season. That’s what we both are.”

The Knights were one of the NHL’s better teams at drawing penalties, ranking ninth during the regular season. They tied with Toronto for the fourth-fewest times short-handed.

Montreal ranked tied for 23rd in times short-handed despite being in the middle of the pack in total penalties taken (14th overall).

Mind games

Robin Lehner made a key stop against Canadiens rookie Cole Caufield on a breakaway in the third period of Game 4. Afterward, the goalie revealed the scouting report on the NCAA’s leading goal scorer was he goes high or through the five-hole between the legs.

Caufield was seen working with Montreal goaltending director Sean Burke after the morning skate Tuesday and was asked about Lehner’s comments.

“I think that’s a good thing that he’s thinking about what I’m going to do, so I’m just taking that into next game,” Caufield said. “It’s good that he’s kind of opening his mouth. You know what he’s thinking now, so I can kind of go off that and create new things to do and new things to look at.”

Small screen

Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo and his family are featured in a TV ad for Honda that has run throughout the postseason.

Nick Holden has seen the commercial and couldn’t help but poke fun at his skills in front of the camera.

“I’m sure glad he chose hockey,” Holden said with a grin. “His acting looks pretty forced.”

GM award

General manager Kelly McCrimmon finished fifth in the voting for the Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award, garnering four first-place votes.

Lou Lamoriello of the New York Islanders won the award.

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

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