Panthers coach Maurice kept calling out referees despite beating Leafs

May 3 2023, 3:32 pm

Despite his Game 1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs last night, Florida Panthers coach Paul Maurice didn’t appear all too thrilled with how the referees officiated the game.

Florida topped Toronto 4-2 on Tuesday night, but the penalty differential was a bit more stark.

The Leafs picked up four power plays during the game (including a double-minor for a high stick from Florida’s Sam Bennett in the game’s closing minutes), compared to just one power play for the visitors.

In the game’s closing moments following the call on Bennett, Maurice signalled that the refs had called five penalties (including the double-minor) on his team, while just calling one for the host Leafs.

In the post-game press conference, Maurice addressed the penalty discrepancy and said that it’s something he’s used to.

“We have just accepted the fact that we will be in the penalty box more than the opponent only because it’s been true for the last eight games,” Maurice said. “We will just tell [Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky] to get lots of sleep.”

This isn’t the first time Maurice has commented on the officials in a matchup against the Leafs this season.

Back in January, the NHL fined Maurice $25,000 for his statements about the refereeing in a 5-4 Leafs win over Florida, where he said the officials called an “inordinate amount” of penalties on his team. His team was called for nine minor penalties compared to six for Toronto, including one particular call against Panthers defenceman Radko Gudas for a hit on former Leafs forward Pierre Engvall.

“No problem with [Engvall] going to the net at all. That is hockey. I don’t know what the hell those guys [the refs] are doing tonight, but it wasn’t Florida Panther-friendly,” Maurice told reporters in January. “It is hard to describe the call. Usually, they have enough there to argue and come over to say, ‘Hey, the stick got up.’ Radko Gudas threw as clean of a hit as you can level — stick on stick, body on body.”

Maurice added that it’s been something the Panthers have been dealing with “all year.”

“That has been all year,” he added. “It’s something we’ve been talking about in the room all year. We are a team that is exactly like when I went into Winnipeg. It was a team that previously had barked a lot about everything. We were that team last year.”

Florida has taken 43 penalties in the playoffs while having drawn 37 for a -6 differential, while Toronto has drawn 35 and taken 28 for a +7 differential.

In the regular season, the Panthers drew 378 penalties — third-most in the league — but took a league-high 388 penalties to finish with a net differential of -10. Toronto, in contrast, drew 309 in the regular season while drawing 303, for a net differential of +6.

The Leafs host the Panthers tomorrow for Game 2, with puck drop set for 7 pm ET.
Adam LaskarisAdam Laskaris

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