Dustin Brown was fortunate he wasn’t crippled when he was driven into the boards from behind by Coyotes centre Martin Hanzal, who was suspended for Game 3. Coyotes captain Shane Doan was tossed from the same game when he hit Trevor Lewis from behind.
There is no doubt the referees are letting a lot more go in the playoffs than they did in the regular season. Just ask Scotty Bowman. “There’s a little more in the playoffs,” was his understated way of noting the leniency.
The way the Coyotes played in Game 2 showed they fully understood this. However, they should also have understood the Hanzal and Doan hits would draw greater scrutiny from the referees in Game 3.
Yet here was Doan early in the game punching Kings centre Jarret Stoll in the head to take a penalty. The Coyotes were better behaved in Thursday’s game but they were still a bit less disciplined than the Kings, which is fatal against a team that is getting scoring from everywhere. Combine that with the more watchful eye from the referees and the Coyotes paid the price.
They took six minor penalties to the Kings’ two, giving the Kings three power plays in the third period after the Coyotes fell behind 2-1.
Kings coach Darryl Sutter, who held his tongue when Hanzal was suspended for just one game and Doan escaped a suspension after Game 2, had the right response. When apprised of Tippett’s complaints, Sutter raised a Spockian eyebrow.
“Embellishing? I didn’t see that,” he said. “We didn’t complain last game.”