Many speculate on whether or not the refs will have an impact on the game like they have so many times this postseason.
Refereeing Continues to be a Storyline This Playoffs
Throughout the 2023 postseason, there have been many questionable calls and non-calls, some of which have decided entire games and even entire series.
Tonight is the beginning of the conference finals and the referees will continue to be a storyline. The refs for tonight's game were announced earlier.
Who We Can Expect Each Ref To Favor
According to scoutingtherefs.com
, Steve Kozari and Chris Lee have been calling games slightly unfairly this postseason.
While they are trying to not be biased, their subconscious biases can show and we can expect each ref to favor one team or another without realizing it.
Kozari has slightly favored the home team throughout this season giving 50.6% of powerplay opportunities to the home team while Lee has majorly favored the home crowd giving them 53.1% of all powerplay opportunities. This ranks Lee as the 5th highest ref on the percentage of powerplay opportunities given to the home team.
That means that for tonight we can expect Kozari to call a relatively even game while Lee will likely be more prone to calling penalties on the Panthers. This could have an affect on the outcome of the game and changing the outcome of one game can change the outcome of the entire series this deep into the playoffs.