SAN JOSE, Calif. - Jeremy Roenick has been around playoff hockey long enough to know what would happen next when six Calgary Flames in a row went to the penalty box in Game 2 of their first-round series against the Sharks.
"(The officials) were looking for anything at that point," Roenick said. "Craig Rivet could have breathed on somebody too hard, and he would have got a penalty."
Indeed, after San Jose got nearly 10 minutes of power-play time that resulted in just one goal during the Sharks' 2-0 victory Thursday, Rivet was hit with an interference penalty that was "probably the worst call I've seen in my entire career," said Roenick, a 19-season veteran of 138 playoff games who realizes those predictable inconsistencies happen all too often in the post-season.
"That's kind of the way it works in the playoffs sometimes," said Roenick, a Sharks centre. "You just have to be ready for it and not let the officiating become an issue."
Goaltending has been the dominant factor in this competitive series, which resumes with Game 3 in Calgary on Sunday night after the clubs split the first two games at the Shark Tank. But after Calgary's penalty parade in the second period of Game 2 resulted in that huge power-play advantage and a 27-3 shots advantage for the Sharks, both teams are hoping the men in striped shirts don't have to take centre ice again.
Calgary coach Mike Keenan, who coached Roenick in four post-seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks from 1989-92, was abrupt and angry after Game 2, vowing to take his complaints to the NHL's top brass. The veteran coach, who hasn't been in the playoffs since 1996, lobbed some verbal shots at the referees before the series even began, saying he hoped both teams would be allowed to play physical hockey.
"I'm biting my tongue here," Keenan said after Game 2.
That didn't sit well with Sharks coach Ron Wilson, who has long argued against a more relaxed standard of officiating in the post-season.
"The playoffs are an extension of the regular season, and we play by the same rules," Wilson said Friday. "There's not a red rulebook for the playoffs and a white one for the regular season."
All in all, it's been a virtuoso performance by two of the NHL's top bench bosses and media agitators. Both are experts with pungent sound bites and jabbing comments to their players as well.
"They both have their thick books of things they say," Roenick said. "At times, I'd like to put earplugs in my ears on the bench, but they both do it because they're passionate about the game."
Keenan's players showed varying degrees of frustration after Game 2, with captain Jarome Iginla blaming the Flames themselves for most of the problems. Calgary was hit with 12 penalties to San Jose's six, and only goalie Miikka Kiprusoff's 41 saves held the Sharks to a 1-for-10 performance on the power play.
"I don't think (Keenan) needs to talk to (commissioner Gary) Bettman," Roenick said. "He just needs to talk to his players and make sure they don't take bad penalties. We took some bad penalties, too. I hope nobody turns this into a political thing."
The Sharks have two days to work on the power play that was the NHL's best during the final weeks of the regular season, particularly after defenceman Brian Campbell arrived in a deadline trade with Buffalo. Wilson wants his players to quit "stubbornly trying to pass through people" so they won't need to take 27 shots in a period.
"It was partly our fault, and partly Kipper was unbelievable," Wilson said.