The Rangers better mind their manners and be on their best behavior come Game 3 on Sunday night given the ending of Game 2.

The Devils were so livid over calls and non-calls that New Jersey President/GM Lou Lamoriello went toe-to-toe with NHL officials who were in attendance The Prudential Center. Steve Zipay of Newsday wrote that Lamoriello was “…livid at the officiating in the final minute, engaged in a heated discussion with NHL brass after the game, and arena security initially barred several reporters and one Rangers official from the corridor leading to the press room.”

It does not take a rocket scientist to know that Lamoriello was incensed over the Jamie Langenbrunner interference call, the non-call on the Blair Betts hook on Paul Martin and the blown icing call. However, Lamoriello wasn’t the only one was beside himself.

Brent Sutter went ballistic as he banged a stick on the boards before depositing it on the ice in front of the Devils bench. Zipay also wrote that John Madden yelled at the referees as he followed them off the ice.

In all honesty, the Devils were completely correct about the icing call. The linesmen had a brain cramp and must have been confused because while the Devils were shorthanded, they did have five skaters on the ice after pulling Martin Brodeur. What I don’t get was Sutter’s comments following the game.

The Devils coach lamented that the face-off was at center ice – as is clearly stated in the rulebook. I suppose he wanted the face-off in the Rangers end, which makes no sense because had there been no icing call the Rangers had possession and there were no Devils checking Michal Rozsival.

The Bottom line is the official sometimes make glaring mistakes on calls that are
no-brainers – kind of like the Too Many Men on the Ice call they missed in the first period when the Devils had something like half their team on the ice.

Heck, if the referees really wanted to screw over the Devils and really annoy the hell out of them, they would have nailed them with a bench minor for Sutter’s antics or doled out some misconduct penalties at the Devils players who were yelling at them late in the game and after the game.

As for the Langenbrunner call, it is one of those calls that gets made at some times and not made at other times. If you go by the rulebook, it is a penalty. Then again, so were the numerous cross checks the devils dished out in the first period and were not called by the referees.

As for the Betts play on Martin, the referees swallowed their whistles on that one and the Rangers caught a break. Ranger fans can argue that one all they want, but if the skate were on the other foot we would all be up in arms.

The Devils didn’t see to mind the Goalie Interference call on Sean Avery late in the second period. It was even more borderline that the call on Langenbrunner and the only reason it was called because it was Avery. Sutter and Lamoriello didn’t have too much to say about the fact that Madden was sitting on Henrik Lundqvist’s head during the scramble late in the third period.

You can bet that Sutter and the Devils will use the officiating as a rallying cry for Game 3. They may even hope to take advantage of what they will perceive as “makeup calls”. Will that be the case on Sunday night? Who knows. The NHL will say that is not the case ever, but stranger things have happened. I am sure the devils think the officiating is one conspiracy that dates back to the 1998 Stanley Cup playoffs when Jim Schoenfeld told Don Koharski “to have another donut, you fat pig.”

What is telling is that the Devils seem more concerned about the officiating than they are the Rangers. It does not matter if the officials and the NHL are against the Devils. What does matter is that New Jersey’s attention is being focused away from the matter at hand – trying to find a way to generate some offense and defeat the New York Rangers. .

The Blueshirts need to keep doing what they have been doing for the past 10 games against the Devils. However, it wouldn’t hurt if they played smart hockey and didn’t put themselves in a position where they could be whistled for stupid – or even borderline – penalties.

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