While the boiling point may have been this weekend’s Game 4 when the Boston Bruins actually enjoyed a 3-2 advantage in power plays in the game, the truth is that the B’s have issues with the way playoff games have been officiated over the last month.
The Bruins have been awarded 28 power plays in their nine playoff games for an average of slightly more than three PP’s per game, but they had to kill off 32 power play in the two playoff series thus far as well. To wit, the Islanders have had to kill off just 21 power plays in two playoff series despite pretty clearly playing a tough, physical brand of hockey that definitely flirts on the edge as it did in Saturday’s 4-1 Game 4 loss or the Bruins to the Isles at Nassau Coliseum.
Cal Clutterbuck has knocked a pair of Bruins players out the series at points with hard hits, including a leg-on-leg check on Craig Smith that took him out for a playoff game.
Earlier in the season, the refs somehow overlooked Charlie McAvoy getting punched in the head by, you guessed it, Brock Nelson at the end of a hard check by the Islanders.
Note to Kelly Sutherland: If you’re doing to ding Pastrnak for that slashing call then you really need to call Brock Nelson punching Charlie McAvoy in the head on his way down after a good check along the boards
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) June 4, 2021
On Saturday night, McAvoy was blasted from behind into the boards by Nelson seeing numbers all the way and NBC commentators trumpeted it as the Islanders “playing for keeps” in a must-win game.
Look at how long he saw McAvoy’s numbers before he even hit him, yet this was not called a penalty and NBC also called this “playing for keeps” pic.twitter.com/p1gfMwVvM9
— Bruins Mafia (@BruinsMafia) June 6, 2021
Even a very questionable decision by David Krejci to spear Mat Barzal in the family jewels during Game 4 was immediately preceded by Barzal cross-checking Krejci four times in the back without a single arm raised from Chris Lee or Jean Hebert.
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) June 6, 2021
Following a close loss to the Islanders that evened up the best-of-seven series at 2-2 apiece, Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy had enough without going over the line critiquing the officiating.
“I think the whole playoffs we haven’t gotten very many calls to put us on the power play,” said Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. “I certainly think the infractions, we haven’t gotten a lot of calls go our way with the borderline ones. You look at even some non-borderline. I mean, Chris Wagner almost got his head taken off the other night in front of the net on a high stick. You look at it and you see the referee looking at it, and they don’t call it.
“So they see what they see. And you can’t do anything about it. You hope that comes around, you keep playing hard [and] earn your calls. We’re not gonna bitch about it. It is what it is. And, you know, hopefully we’ll start getting the ones that we deserve and take advantage of it.”
The Bruins took advantage of the calls they did get on Saturday night with a power play goal in three chances, but they’re also facing an Islanders penalty kill that’s struggled throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs. An extra call or two that Cassidy is lobbying for could end up making a difference in a tight playoff series and it certainly seems warranted based on the number of things happening on the ice as the Isles try to slow the Black and Gold down a little bit by any means necessary.