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Are Boucher’s Mind Games Getting To Bruins?

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Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS) – Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher was unhappy with the referees prior to Wednesday night’s Game 6, saying the penalties were being called at an unfair rate.

“24-9 against, right?” Boucher said before the game. “Yes, I’m aware of it. Very aware of it. Very, very aware of it. It has been a part of our discussions quite a few times in the last game, the last games we did have that particular ref. And it is lopsided.”

The numbers were pretty equal in Game 6, with the Bruins getting five power plays to Tampa’s four. The difference was the Lightning scored on three of them, while Boston only took advantage of one.

After the 5-4 loss, it was Claude Julien’s turn to react to the refs, and to Boucher’s comments.

“They scored three goals on the power play and it took us a long time to get our first one, and that certainly dictated the game,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said after the loss. “And what was more disappointing is probably the fact that, you know, I don’t know if I agree with those calls. And hopefully what was said today didn’t have any impact on that, because if it did, I’d be really disappointed.”

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“Well, first of all, I was asked that,” Boucher said in his own press conference. “I didn’t bring it up myself. I was asked, and people put numbers in front of me. Those were the facts and the numbers. If you’re asking me, power plays are 5-4 for them today, and they were 3-0 for them to start the game in the first period. It was 4-1 for them before we got our other power play, so I don’t know who had the advantage today? We had less power plays than them.”

If anything, the Bruins did themselves in during the Game 6 loss. Two cross-checking penalties and an interference call in the second period are what did them in, leading to those three Tampa goals. What was a 2-1 Bruins lead became a 4-2 deficit. Try as they might, the Bruins could not kill off the vaunted Tampa power play like they had in previous games.

“When you look back at those and you get an opportunity to look back at them, that’s really tough to swallow,” Julien continued. “At the same time, you want your team to kill those penalties, which we’ve done a pretty good job throughout the series. But tonight that wasn’t the case and obviously it was the difference in the game.”

“I thought we were very disciplined tonight,” said Julien of his players. “And again, it just seemed like it was one of those tough nights when you look back at some of those penalties, whether you’re allowed to agree or disagree. I’m one of those guys tonight that probably disagreed on a lot of them.”

“When you hear what happened today, I guess it certainly makes things look even worse. So referees have a tough job to do. One thing you don’t want to do is criticize them. You’re allowed to agree or disagree, but they’ve got a tough job to do. My job is not to criticize them, but it was something that was tough to swallow.”

Every game of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Bruins and Lightning can be heard on 98.5 The Sports Hub with pregame coverage beginning 60 minutes before each game with the Dunkin Donuts Bruins Pregame show.

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