The Bruins’ defense and goaltending didn’t play at their best in Game 5 against the Islanders, but the poorly tilted officiating only made it worse. And Bruce Cassidy is mad as hell, and he’s not gonna take it anymore.
Officiating may be outside the Bruins’ control, but there’s no debate that Boston came up on the short end in a 5-4 loss on Monday at TD Garden. The Isles went 3-for-4 on the power play, including a phantom slashing call on Sean Kuraly that led to Mathew Barzal’s tying goal in the first period.
Sean Kuraly was called for a slash on this.— Evan Marinofsky (@EvanMarinofsky) June 7, 2021
Islanders scored on this power play. pic.twitter.com/pouLqCvL1t
Additionally, Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk got called for a garden variety cross-check to the back, the kind that has been happening all series. The Islanders cashed in again on that one with a Kyle Palmieri goal sparked by the Bruins’ flailing net-front defense. The third straight penalty to lead to a power play goal, a high-stick on Chris Wagner, was properly called – but not long after the officials missed a high-stick against the Bruins.
I’ll let Cassidy say the rest.
“I think they sell a narrative over there that it’s more like the New York Saints, not the New York Islanders,” Cassidy said (via Ty Anderson). “They play hard and they play the right way. But I feel we’re the same way, and the exact calls that are getting called on us do not get called on them. And I don’t know why. These are very good officials. They’re at this point in the season for a reason. You’ve got continuous high sticks every game, the exact same high sticks.
“Maybe we need to sell them more, flop, but that’s not us. You just hope they’d see them.”
The Bruins head coach also went to bat for Patrice Bergeron, who found himself getting kicked out of the faceoff dot early and often after Islanders head coach Barry Trotz called on the officials to watch for him to “cheat” in that area.
“Have a little respect for Patrice Bergeron,” Cassidy said. “He’s up for the Selke, has been a warrior in this league, face of the franchise, does everything right for hockey, sells the game. That’s the way you treat him? They just need to be better than that. Quit listening to these outside influences. I don’t think they were great tonight.”
Cassidy’s comments were certainly incendiary enough to get people talking one way or another. And possibly get himself a fine. Many Bruins fans would consider that money well spent.
But Cassidy is not typically one to make excuses about bad officiating, even when he may feel it’s warranted. So it was striking to watch him go full Howard Beale in the movie Network. He will still be accused of excessive whining in some corners.
Calling out the officials has worked for other teams in the past, and it worked for Trotz Monday night. The Bruins have nothing to lose at this point. Might as well go in on the men in stripes and see if the calls finally tilt in their favor in a do-or-die Game 6 on Wednesday night.
Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster 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? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @mattydsays. You can also email him at email@example.com.