BOSTON – It’s readily apparent at this point that there isn’t much love lost between the Boston Bruins and the New York Islanders.
The Boston Bruins were the better hockey club by pretty much all measures while outshooting the Islanders by a 44-19 margin, but those three power play goals played the big difference-maker in a 5-4 Bruins loss at TD Garden.
A soft slashing call on Sean Kuraly at the end of the first period wiped out strong opening 20 minutes for the Bruins when the Islanders tied things up with a late power play goal. Then Chris Wagner was called for a legit high-sticking penalty just minutes after Craig Smith was caught with a high stick to the face that was somehow missed by Francois St. Laurent and Francois Charron even though Kyle Palmieri stopped skating while anticipating a penalty.
Kyle Palmieri literally stopped skating because he thought he was going to the box. No penalty. That’s how bad the Francois Brothers were last night https://t.co/9Wgj7qeIl7
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) June 8, 2021
Predictably, the Islanders capitalized with another PP goal there from Jordan Eberle to take a 4-2 lead in the second period.
After watching the Islanders get awarded a series of power plays in the first two periods that led to three PP goals and hold a 12-9 advantage in infractions leading to power plays over the course of the five-game series, Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy has had enough of the innocent, sweet Islanders act. The Islanders had four power play opportunities to two for the Bruins in a hugely important Game 5, and it’s par for the course for what the B’s bench boss has seen over the course of the five-game series.
“We’re playing a team that has a very respected management and coaching staff over there…they’ve won [Cups]. But I think they sell a narrative over there that it’s more like the New York Saints than the New York Islanders. They play hard and they play the right way,” said Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. “But I feel like we play the same way. 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 season. You’ve got continuous high sticks every game. The exact same high sticks: Bergie with Nelson behind the net, one that comes up on Smith. Marchand got called for that in Game 1.
“I could go on and on. Wagner the other day in front of the net. Maybe we need to sell them more and flop, but that’s not us. You just hope they’d see them. The same calls go against us. It’s not like I’m sitting here saying ‘Every call that goes against us sucks.’ That’s not true. It’s just at the end of the day they need to be penalized on similar plays. But I think they’ve done a great job selling that narrative that they’re clean. They play hard. I love the way they play. But they commit as many infractions as we do. Trust me. It’s just a matter of calling them. That’s the part that gets frustrating. Let’s just play hockey, call all the infractions and then see where it goes.”
“I think they sell a narrative over there that’s more like the New York Saints, not the New York Islanders”
Bruce Cassidy had a lot to say after the B’s loss tonight pic.twitter.com/vedAMAaSXe
— NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSBoston) June 8, 2021
Barry Trotz responded and sounded very similar to Craig Berube in 2019 trumpeting the Islanders as one of the least penalized team in the NHL during the regular season.
Trotz on Cassidy’s “New York Saints” remark: “I don’t know what he means by that. We were one of the least penalized teams in the league all year… You’ll have to ask him what he means by that.”
— Arthur Staple (@StapeAthletic) June 8, 2021
Cassidy wasn’t done, however. The Boston Bruins bench boss was also taking issue with the Trotz comments from last weekend about Patrice Bergeron “cheating” on faceoffs, a ploy that resulted in No. 37 getting thrown out of face-offs a handful of times at the start of a pivotal Game 5 at TD Garden. It may be gamesmanship from the head coaches looking to gain any edge they can, but it’s also something Cassidy felt that the linesmen didn’t have to play into like they did on Monday night.
“He’s thrown out, what, the first two, three or four faceoffs that he takes because somebody mentioned [he’s cheating]. Have a little respect for Patrice Bergeron. He’s up for the Selke,” said Cassidy. “He’s been a warrior in this league, a face of the franchise, does everything right for hockey and sells the game. That’s the way you treat him?
“I mean, c’mon…because somebody speaks out and says something all of a sudden. They just need to be better than that and just call the game you see. Quit listening to these outside influences and get it done right. I don’t think [the on-ice officials] were great tonight. I’m not going to lie to you.”
Will Cassidy’s comments buy the Boston Bruins a few calls in Game 6 on Wednesday night at Nassau Coliseum? It remains to be seen, but the Black and Gold are going to need all the help they can get while down 3-to-2 in the best-of-seven series while heading into a hockey barn that hasn’t been a friendly one for them this season.