By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — After a thrilling Game 3 between the Bruins and Senators went to overtime, the ending came at the hands of the Sens’ power play – and the cherry on top of a patently poor night of officiating.
Riley Nash went to the penalty box for roughing less than five minutes into OT, and the Senators’ Bobby Ryan capitalized with the game-winning goal to put Ottawa up 2-1 in the series. It was the aforementioned Ryan who pushed Nash into the boards, taking a small jab to the face (and perhaps embellishing a bit) to draw the penalty. He had literally just given Nash a smack to the head of his own.
While the call was far from the only reason the Bruins lost Game 3, there’s no getting around how egregious it was to only call a penalty on Nash – or call a penalty at all – on that play. The fact that it came in OT of a playoff game only made it worse.
Bruins interim head coach Bruce Cassidy did not hesitate to make his thoughts known about the call. Speaking to NESN’s Jack Edwards after the game, he was unafraid to face any kind of discipline from the NHL over publicly disparaging the officials.
“It was terrible, Jack, let’s face it,” said Cassidy, who interjected before Edwards even needed to specifically ask about the call. “We all saw it. It’s nothing about getting in trouble with the league. I don’t agree with the call, I thought it was terrible. But they called it, and you’ve got to kill it.”
The call was the coup de grace of a night filled with questionable calls by the referees, going both ways. The Bruins also got bamboozled by a matching penalty call in which Tim Schaller essentially went to the penalty box for getting smacked in the face by the Sens’ Marc Methot – twice. The refs also gifted the Bruins a power play earlier in the game with a phantom tripping call on Kyle Turris.
In total, 11 penalties were called in a grossly over-officiated playoff game that soiled what was typically riveting entertainment for much of the time. But the Nash penalty, in particular, was simply not a call that needed to be made when stuff like that happens fairly often over the course of a hockey game.
When even NBC Sports’ Pierre McGuire is ripping your penalty call, you know you’ve done a bad job:
This is not to turn the whole game into a whine-fest over the officiating. It’s fair to note that the Bruins played one of their worst periods of the season in the first period and couldn’t stop Erik Karlsson’s incredible passing on at least three of the Sens’ four goals. But this is also a Bruins team that is depleted on the back end and can’t continue to rely on their role players to keep the series alive.
The Bruins are in rough enough shape as it is right now. Bad officiating is the last thing they need.
Matt Dolloff is a writer/producer for CBSBostonSports.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.