By Kevin Flanagan
BSD Bruins Senior Staff Writer
Following Monday night’s 4-2 loss to the Lightning in Game 2, there has been an abundance of criticism surrounding the officiating – or lack thereof – in the series-tying defeat in Tampa at the hands of the Bolts and their zebra striped best friends for an evening, that will send the second round of the NHL’s second season back to Boston tied at a game apiece.
Whether it was Torey Krug’s phantom slash in the first that led to a power-play goal, David Pastrnak’s high stick that never happened in the third that cost the Bruins four crucial minutes in their attempted comeback late, or the two-hand chop to Brad Marchand on what could have been a game-tying breakaway with only minutes left in the game – the officials blew chunks on Monday night. And, unfortunately, they all landed on the laps of the team on the visiting bench at Amalie Arena in sunny Florida.
However, even though they were clearly jobbed by the guys who are supposed to go unnoticed on the ice if they are doing their job right, the Bruins – led by should be head coach of the year Bruce Cassidy – were right to take the high road – well, sort of – after such an abomination of officiating that took place in Tampa during Game 2.
“They started really well tonight,” said a calm Cassidy following the ref-aided loss. “Clearly they were the better team the first 10 minutes. Our goaltender held us in. We found our game. The 5-on-3 [power play late in the first], we didn’t score, but it at least got us back in the game feeling the puck, got our D a little bit of rest. Kind of picked it up from there.”
However, the B’s bench boss let his feelings be known about the potential game-changing non-call that his leading scorer didn’t get, as well as the other calls that went Tampa’s way.
“Obviously,’’ said Cassidy. “He slashed him right on the hands. I just think it’s unacceptable to miss that call…it’s a hit on the hands. It’s one thing if it’s a judgment call on the stick but on the hands is usually automatic. So that was disappointing.
“Even the icing before [the blatant missed call on the slash to Marchand’s hands], it’s a judgment call but I mean, Torey’s there first. Eventually, we do get that puck out and bring it back in, so that’s on us, we have to manage the puck but they impacted the game and that’s what’s frustrating,’’ Cassidy contested. “Even the Hedman one, we thought it was Hedman’s own stick that cut him. Now you’re down four minutes. Now we killed that but at the end of the day, [Marchand’s] breakaway — I think that should be called in my estimation. I disagree with the non-call. He hit him on the hands and he clearly loses possession of the puck and that’s an infraction.’’
The Bruins resident rat turned top end talent agreed, saying, “That’s a play that they called earlier in the game, and what they’ve called all year . . . a slash up on the hands. That’s an automatic penalty shot, let alone a penalty.”
That is if your last name is not Marchand.
Let’s face it, the Bruins leading scorer in the regular season is far from a darling in the eyes of anyone who doesn’t wear black and gold sunglasses on a regular basis. If there is even a shadow of a doubt – and frankly, there wasn’t even close to one on that play – it is going to go against him. The reasoning behind the other bad calls that went against the B’s is something only referees Kelly Sutherland and Eric Furlatt can answer.
That being said, the team that calls TD Garden home did their job in Tampa during the first two games of the series. As Marchand said following the not so fair loss, “It’s 1-1. We’re in the playoffs, you’re not gonna walk through teams. We have home-ice advantage now, we’ll go home. This game’s over, it’s done with, and we’ll move on.”
Which is precisely what this up and coming Bruins club has done all year, no matter what adversity they have faced.