Interference or no interference? Winnipeg loses anyway

The best teams in the league overcome tough situations, such as when it’s perceived a referee misses a call at a key point in the game. And even though the Winnipeg Jets initially rebounded from a controversial third period goal Monday night, they still managed to lose. That’s the difference between the best teams and a non-playoff team like the Jets.

On the final play of the Monday Night Football game between the Carolina Panthers and New England Patriots, a pass from Tom Brady to Rob Gronkowski could have lifted the Patriots to victory. But instead, the ball fell to the ground and despite a flag, no penalty was called on the play. Some thought there should have been a call because Gronkowski was interfered with; some thought the non-call was correct because he wasn’t in a position to catch the ball anyway.

Those refs. Zebras in scapegoat clothing.

Officials will make bad, terrible, awful calls from time to time, but it happens for everyone. It evens out. Karma comes and karma goes. The best teams are the ones that overcome, or don’t put the game in the referee’s hands, consistently. They seize their opportunities. The good ones do it enough to get into the playoffs.

The Winnipeg Jets showed a little of that fighting spirit in Monday’s entertaining game against Calgary. Even though the Jets ended up losing 5-4 in a shootout, they kept coming back from one-goal deficits, including immediately kicking back from a perceived injustice.

A little more than halfway through the third period, Lance Bouma scored a shorthanded goal to give the Flames a 3-2 lead. Jets coach Claude Noel was outraged because he thought Byfuglien was interfered with as he backed up to defend the goal. You be the judge: interference or out-muscling for position?

READ ALSO:  Future Watch 2015: the NHL's top 10 rising prospects

If that had been the final goal of the game, we’d be debating the play. But Byfuglien took exception to it and just took a goal. Less than a minute later he cranked up a slap shot from in tight and kept moving at the net – and when Big Buff moves at the net, Big Buff gets to the net.

This is a great example of answering a perceived bad call. That’s the kind of stuff that sets teams apart – and why it’s nearly always the poor team, not the poor ref, that loses the game. The fact the Jets ended up dropping the home game to Calgary anyway speaks to their ongoing struggle to find a playoff spot. Byfuglien put them in a position to win and Winnipeg allowed another goal it had to come back from four minutes later anyway. There was no debatable missed penalty on that one.

It’s a loss, but hey, at least they got a point.