By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
In a tight game on the scoreboard with the series in the balance, the officials didn’t want to make themselves the story. In Boston, they will be anyway.
To the dismay of Bruins fans watching a pivotal Game 5 between the Bruins and Maple Leafs, Auston Matthews continued his great awakening with the first goal of the night in the third period of Toronto’s 2-1 win. And after the B’s challenged for goalie interference, seemingly having a chance for an overturn, officials from on high didn’t see enough to make what could have been a seismic, series-changing call.
The Leafs’ Zach Hyman clearly made contact with Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask, seemingly impeding his ability to move freely across the crease for a chance to stop Matthews’ one-timer. But as explained at NHL.com, the interference wasn’t egregious enough to overturn the goal. To take it off the board, especially in the situation this series was in at the time, they needed to be left with no doubt.
Instead, the Situation Room cited Rule 7.87: “If a review is not conclusive and/or there is any doubt whatsoever as to whether the call on the ice was correct, the original call on the ice will be confirmed.”
This means that if goalie interference was the call on the ice, the Bruins would have gotten what they wanted.
One person who clearly didn’t get what he wanted was Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy.
“Well, clearly [Hyman] interferes with Tuukka,” Cassidy said. “It goes to [replay officials] and they have to make a decision. I just hope they don’t predict whether they thought the goalie could make the save and get across on time. … Either it’s interference or it’s not.
“From my viewpoint it certainly looked like goaltender interference. The call didn’t go our way. It’s 1-0 with eight minutes to go. We have time to get ourselves back in the game and regroup. Unfortunately we weren’t able to do that.”
Rask practically wishes he flopped. But despite the clear contact, he’s not about to scapegoat Hyman for the play.
“I would’ve gotten a push because I saw the pass going that way, but it just kind of distracted me,” Rask said. “It wasn’t major contact. It happened so quick, you don’t want to start selling it. I guess if I fell on my ass there it would’ve been a different story.”
Either way, goaltender interference is bound to be too much of the conversation in a game where the Bruins – yet again – chased the Maple Leafs all over the ice and looked overmatched for the majority of regulation. Reality is setting in that the B’s simply don’t match up well against Toronto. And despite their resiliency and experience in these situations, the battle is all uphill from here.
A goalie interference call going their way wasn’t going to change that.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.