Avalanche’s Landeskog questions ‘unfortunate’ calls after loss to Hurricanes

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The Colorado Avalanche and Carolina Hurricanes gave fans a possible Stanley Cup Final preview with a low-scoring but high-intensity game at PNC Arena Thursday night.

The Hurricanes ultimately won 2-0, but the Avalanche were visibly upset with the officials — so much so that captain Gabriel Landeskog was ejected with a misconduct penalty in the final minute.

After the game, Landeskog opened his press conference with a two-minute speech explaining what happened from his perspective and calling the whole situation “unfortunate.”

“In 11 years, I’ve never sat and talked about referees in a press conference ever,” the captain said. “It’s unfortunate because that’s a playoff (type) game tonight.”

According to Landeskog, the Avalanche were upset with two incidents involving leading-scorer Nazem Kadri and Hurricanes forward Nino Niederreiter.

The first occurred about eight minutes into the third period — with the game still tied 0-0 — when Kadri was called for high-sticking Niederreiter. Cameras showed Kadri signalling a diving motion with his arm, suggesting that Niederreiter exaggerated to get the call but the penalty was still handed out. The Hurricanes did not score on the power play.

Then, Landeskog says, the Avalanche got further upset by a penalty that wasn’t called. With just under six minutes to go in the game and the Avalanche controlling the puck in the offensive zone, Kadri was taken down by Niederreiter but no penalty was called. The Hurricanes quickly advanced the puck up ice and less than a minute later Ethan Bear scored the eventual game-winning goal.

In his speech, Landeskog said he thought the officials told the Avalanche bench that Kadri had “flopped” which is why no call was made. Landeskog said he thought the referees — Wes McCauley and TJ Luxmore — called a good game for 50 minutes but that those two plays cost his team important points.

“I think it’s unfortunate, and I think sometimes it’s time for players to step up and speak our truth,” Landeskog said. “Because I’m the one that’s looking like an idiot for getting thrown out of the game, even though I was just being honest. And I guess TJ didn’t like that I said he had a tough night.

“I guess I hurt his feelings.”

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