The Boston Bruins out-shot the New York Islanders 44-19, got four goals past Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov, but still lost 5-4 and now face a do-or-die Game 6 on the road Wednesday at Nassau Coliseum. Here are your Talking Points from a game in which the officiating played an unfortunate role but also a game that the Bruins still could’ve won if they didn’t let some questionable calls rattle them.
GOLD STAR: Semyon Varlamov. Yes, Varlamov allowed four goals but he also made 40 saves and staved off a late comeback attempt by the Bruins with some key saves in the final few minutes of regulation. After going winless in the Islanders’ six-game win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Varlamov replaced rookie goalie Ilya Sorokin after Sorokin lost Game 1 of the series. Since then, Varlamov has gone 3-1 and is a major reason that the Islanders have a chance to close out another series in six games.
— Rob Taub (@RTaub_) June 8, 2021
BLACK EYE: Officiating. The Boston Bruins had to kill off four powerplays and one could easily argue that three of those powerplays were the result of, at best questionable calls. This scribe though can’t even call this slashing call on Bruins forward Sean Kuraly 18:17 into the first period questionable. It was just flat-out wrong!
Sean Kuraly was called for a slash on this.
Islanders scored on this power play. pic.twitter.com/pouLqCvL1t
— Evan Marinofsky (@EvanMarinofsky) June 7, 2021
That was the beginning of a night in which – and I hate to blame referees for the outcome of a game – it seemed as if disgraced NBA referee Tim Donaghy decided to start betting on the NHL and put a call into this Game 5 officiating crew of Francis Charron and Francois St-Laurent and linesmen Devin berg and David Brisebois. The numerous non-calls against the Islanders and as I mentioned above, the three of the four against the Bruins were simply flabbergasting. Following the game, Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy gave a fine-worthy ripping the foursome, the Islanders, and the NHL.
I think what happens is we’re playing a team that has a very respected management and coaching staff. They won a Stanley Cup,” Cassidy said. “I think they sell a narrative over there that it’s more like the New York Saints not the New York Islanders. They play hard and they play the right way. But I feel we’re the same way. The exact same calls that get called on us do not get called on them and I don’t know why.”
Cassidy seemed specifically ticked off that Barry Trotz’ claims that Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron cheats at the faceoff dot seemed to have an effect on Game 5.
“It’s like with Bergeron today. He’s thrown out of what, the first two? three? four faceoffs he takes,” Cassidy said. “Have a little respect for Patrice Bergeron. He’s up for the Selke. He’s been a warrior in this league, a face of the franchise. He does everything right for hockey. Sells the game. That’s the way you treat him? C’mon. Cause someone speaks out and says something. Call the game that you see. Quit listening to these outside influences and get it done right. Cause I don’t think they were great tonight.”
TURNING POINT: Kuraly Penalty. While the Boston Bruins need to do a better job of remaining composed when a call doesn’t go their way, this call that led to a Mathew Barzal powerplay goal at 18:49 of the first period, clearly rattled the Bruins. After that, they seemed preoccupied with the refs rather than the game itself.
HONORABLE MENTION: Charlie McAvoy. The Boston Bruins defenseman continued his brilliant 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs campaign with three assists. McAvoy now has ten helpers and a goal in ten games and he continues to be a minutes eater as he logged 26:48 in Game 5. McAvoy has registered a point in eight out of the ten playoff games thus far and this was his second game with three assists.
BY THE NUMBERS: 75. The total number of hits in another physical game between the Islanders and the Bruins.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “Maybe Game 6 will be our day where we get the calls that go our way. Maybe not. I don’t know,” he said. “I can’t look in the future. We’ll be ready to play. We better be ready to play. It’s do or die for us.” – Cassidy trying to stay positive that the calls will finally go the Bruins’ ways.