In a game where the Bruins came back from a three-goal deficit to even things up, the last thing anyone imagined were for the officials to dictate an important moment in the contest.
Especially in overtime.
On a night where they let much of the physicality go for the most part.
Marc Methot’s face-washing of Brad Marchand? Not called.
Methot’s face-washing of Tim Schaller? Well, both were called for matching minors.
Then came Riley Nash’s retaliation of Bobby Ryan in the extra session. Only Nash was called for roughing at 4:38. Just 1:05 later, the player who drew the penalty notched the game-winner to give the Sens the 4-3 Game 3 victory and the 2-1 series lead.
“Demoralizing and disappointing,” a frustrated Bruce Cassidy said during his postgame press conference. “I think you guys summed it up. There’s probably a lot more words, but they called it.”
Demoralizing and disappointing are exactly what Nash felt when facing the hoard of reporters in his locker room stall afterwards.
“I don’t know, I felt like I was down on my knee, and he came and hit me, or elbow or fist, whatever it was. I tried to just push him or punch him off me and caught his face. He kind of embellished it, but I don’t know,” said the veteran forward. “Still, it just can’t happen. You’ve got to take that. It’s playoffs, you’ve got to take it.”
As frustrating as the call was, the Bruins will look to turn the page, and quickly.
The Bruins locker room expressed that same frustration over the call on Nash. But they also expressed disappointment in other areas, including their 3-0 deficit, and the fact that the usually reliable penalty kill, which allowed a pair of goals, didn’t come through when it mattered the most.
“Yeah, or maybe take both, but I can’t say that I’m an unbiased source here because our guys battled their butts off to get back in this game, get it to overtime, and feel like we still had the momentum there, probably until they get that power play,” said David Backes, who had his own frustrations with Dion Phaneuf.
“But, again, our penalty kill has been outstanding – first in the league, I believe, in the regular season. We know what we’re doing and just didn’t get the job done there in overtime when we needed it most.”
“Yeah, I just, you know, it’s a tough one. It’s a little inconsistent, but those shots like that all game and it’s tough that in overtime, but they’re a good hockey team over there,” added Marchand. “They play a good game and again, we need to be a little better.”
Being better begins with a full 60-minute effort in Game 4. Otherwise, they may find themselves on the brink of elimination when they return to Ottawa for Game 5 on Friday.
“It’s obviously not what we were looking for but another one-goal game, another tight checking game, another game where every play was magnified and I expect the next one to be the same way and we get this thing tied back 2-2, you know, best of three kind of series,” Backes stated. “That’s our focus now.”