NHL playoffs: Wild's Marcus Foligno rips refs after 'bulls***' penalties

The Stars scored the game-winning goal while Foligno was in the box for a questionable tripping call.

It wouldn’t be a night in the Stanley Cup Playoffs without the officials coming under the microscope, and that's exactly what happened in Game 4 between the Minnesota Wild and Dallas Stars on Sunday.

Two questionable penalties were called against the Wild, and the Stars capitalized on both to earn a 3-2 victory and knot the series at 2-2.

Both penalties came against Wild winger Marcus Foligno – who has been known to be very vocal around officials while on the ice. To say they were controversial would be an understatement.

Minnesota Wild forward Marcus Foligno (17) reacts after being called for tripping during the third period of Game 4 against the Dallas Stars. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)
Minnesota Wild forward Marcus Foligno (17) reacts after being called for tripping during the third period of Game 4 against the Dallas Stars. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)

In the tightly played game, Stars forward Tyler Seguin opened the scoring on a power play that came after Foligno allegedly interfered with the play behind the goal line. The puck might have been gone for a couple milliseconds before Foligno made a hit on Dallas defenseman Jani Hakanpaa.

That was just the beginning.

The two teams traded goals within the first six minutes of the third period before the Wild found themselves the victim of another dubious call when Foligno was whistled for tripping on what first seemed like a high-sticking call going the other way. Mason Marchment left his feet to avoid the hit and inadvertently clipped Foligno in the face, but it was the player on the ground who had to head to the box.

Seguin scored his second of the night on the ensuing power play, with that tally holding up as the game-winner.

Foligno was understandably a little peeved after the game and didn't mince words about his feelings.

“It’s a joke. It doesn’t make any sense,” Foligno told reporters. “I go to hit a guy who touches the puck. It’s not interference. I go, I get high-sticked in the face. It’s not a tripping call when you hit a guy clean on. It’s bulls***.”

The 31-year-old then alluded to Stars players complaining about the officiating in an effort to get the whistle on their side.

“There’s just something to be talked about the physicality part of it. I just feel like it’s a little bit chintzy right now. It doesn’t make any sense,” he said, per The Athletic's Michael Russo. “This is playoff hockey. You go and hit a guy and it’s not illegal. … It’s clean and you’re getting called to the penalty box.

"I don’t know. I think in that sense maybe they got to them before we did.”

Wild head coach Dean Evason echoed Foligno’s sentiment that hockey is typically played a certain way when the games are most meaningful.

“We all know what happened,” Evason said. “I’m not going to comment on [the calls]. We have our opinions, but what’s the point? … There’s no point in whining about it now. They’re gone.

"Our game was really good. … We like the way we’re playing the game. Hard. Physical. Finishing our checks the right way. How playoff hockey should be played. It should be physical. It should be intense. It should be hitting hard. That’s what playoff hockey is. We were doing that.”

Minnesota and Dallas now head back to Texas in what's become a best-of-three series that starts on Tuesday.