Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour said his team is battling two opponents: The Nashville Predators, who defeated them in double-overtime in Game 3 of their series on Friday night, and the referees he believes are assisting them.
"We played our butts off. We played great, we played hard, we're playing a great team. We're in a battle. Nashville's a phenomenal team. But we're also fighting the refs. That's plain and simple," he said. "You can't tell me two games in a row, they get seven or eight [power plays] and [we] get three? When the game is this even? It's not right."
The Predators have received 14 power plays in the past two games, while the Hurricanes have received six. In Game 3, Nashville had seven power plays to Carolina's three.
Nashville scored its first power-play goal of the playoffs in Game 3. Carolina's Max Lajoie was the only player whistled for a penalty after regulation, getting a hooking call at 11:40 of the second overtime. The Predators' Matt Duchene scored at 14:54 of double-overtime to give Nashville a 5-4 win and cut the Hurricanes' series lead to 2-1.
"I give my guys tons of credit for playing their butts off. They had a good chance to win," Brind'Amour said, before shaking his head. "[It's] not right. Two overtimes? A knick-knack penalty, when there was stuff going on all over and they score the next shift because we're out of rotation? That's not how it should go."
Game 4 is scheduled for Sunday afternoon.