What Grade Would You Give Referees in Bruins-Lightning Series?

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What Grade Would You Give Referees in Bruins-Lightning Series? Oh, Guy Boucher. You are a crafty man. A very crafty man. A very, very crafty man.

The Lightning head coach knew what he was doing this week when he spoke out against referee Eric Furlatt prior to Game 6. He pointed out that Tampa Bay had been whistled for 24 penalties when Furlatt was one of the two refs, compared to just nine for opposing teams.

"Yes, I'm aware of it," Boucher said of the discrepancy. "Very aware of it. Very, very aware of it."

For those of you keeping score at home, that's three very's. That's pretty aware.

"It has been a part of our discussions quite a few times in the last game, the last games we did have that particular ref. And it is lopsided," he added.

As a result, we all paid closer attention to the officiating in Game 6, when both teams were given 10 penalty minutes apiece (two of those minutes, though, were assessed to Nathan Horton at the final buzzer, so it had no effect on the game). Did Boucher's comments have an effect on Furlatt and his partner, Kelly Sutherland? We'll never know for sure.

We do know, though, that if you eliminate the 24 penalty minutes handed to Horton and Milan Lucic in the final minute of Game 1 for some cheap shots taken at Lightning players, the Lightning were given 61 penalty minutes heading into Game 6, while the Bruins were given 47. Tampa, a team that relies heavily on scoring on the power play, needed an edge, and Boucher may have provided it.

Bruins coach Claude Julien, at least, questioned whether the refs were affected by Boucher.

"Hopefully what was said [by Boucher] didn't have any impact on [some of the calls], because if it did, I'd be really disappointed," Julien said after the Game 6 loss, in which Tampa scored three times with a man advantage. "You look back at those, and you get an opportunity to look back at them, and it's really, really tough to swallow."

Julien may have a point regarding Game 6, but Boucher could have lodged similar complaints after Game 4, when Steve Downie was given an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for faking an injury, despite the fact that he never returned to the game.

Both teams have their gripes, but on the whole, how have the referees performed this series?

Share your thoughts below.

Thursday,  May 26: Can Bruins survive an off night from Tim Thomas?

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