The final period of Game 5 was filled with controversy.
First, there was a goal that looked to be over the line that didn’t count and then there was a non-call on a possible penalty that gave St. Louis a 2-0 lead.
In the first incident, upon video review of a shot, it certainly appeared David Pastrnak pushed the puck over the line past Blues goalie Jordan Binnington with 13 minutes left in the third period.
But the play was ruled as already being dead due to a whistle being blown.
In real time, however, it’s very hard to tell which came first, the puck crossing the line, or the whistle.
Minutes later, the Blues got a goal moments after what appeared to be a trip by Tyler Bozak on Noel Acciari.
On the play in question, it even appeared Bozak thought he was going to be called for a penalty.
It may have been because he was complaining about the possibility of a flop, but he certainly stopped what he was doing after Acciari fell to the ice.
But, the Blues got the puck and eventually put it in the back of the net to go up 2-0.
It was not a great five minutes for Boston in Game 5. Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy was heated after the game.
“Those are the hits they want to get out of the game, correct?” Cassidy told reporters. “That’s what I hear a lot about. Clearly, they missed a couple tonight. It’s a fast game. I sat here two days ago or whatever it was and said I believe these officials are at this level because they’ve earned the right to be here. You should be getting the best.
“But, I mean, the narrative changed after Game 3. There’s a complaint or whatever put forth by the opposition. It just seems to have changed everything. The no-call on Acciari … their player is on his way to the box. It’s right in front of the official. It’s a slew foot. Our guy’s gone. The spotter took him out of the game for a possible concussion. I mean, it’s blatant. It had a big effect on the game. This has happened.
“I’m a fan of the game. It’s the National Hockey League’s getting a black eye with their officiating in these playoffs, and there’s another one that’s going to be talked about. I thought it was a great hockey game. That call, probably … there’s time, but it really made it difficult for us to get the win tonight. So I’m disappointed. So I guess to answer your original question, it was egregious. But we’re moving on. We’re getting ready for Game 6.”
Blues coach Craig Berube did not agree that calls were favoring his team.
“I don’t agree with it, but it doesn’t matter,” he said. “I’m not here to judge the officials and calls that could have been or couldn’t have. They go both ways. There were calls the other way that could have been called and they weren’t.”
Bozak wasn’t convinced he should have gotten a penalty but he wasn’t complaining about the call either.
“It was just a puck battle, I don’t know,” he said. “I saw the puck there and went for it. He was down. I don’t know really know what happened to be honest with you. Yeah, we’ll take it.”
The NHL told reporters after the game, the non-call on the Bozak play was a judgment call.
“We don’t make comments on judgment calls within games,” NHL director of officiating Stephen Walkom said. “There are hundreds of judgment calls in every game. The official on the play, he viewed it and he didn’t view it as a penalty at the time.”
Cassidy though didn’t want to just complain about the loss.
He was happy with the way his team responded.
“Listen we thought we got screwed but you’ve gotta keep playing and we did,” he said. “We scored the next goal and gave ourselves the chance to win. We tried to rally around that. But moving forward there wasn’t a whole lot of, you’re in the moment of course you’re upset but I think players once they get back on the ice they’re not too concerned about that. So that’s the way it finished.
“I thought we responded well. We pushed to score, we did. We pushed again, we gave up some odd-man rushes as a result. Tuukka made the next save to keep us in; unfortunately, we couldn’t get it by him in the end.”
With reporting by Sporting News’ Jackie Spiegel in Boston.
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