Late interference call caps off B’s frustrating night vs. Lundqvist
No human being is expected to leap over tall structures like the Prudential Tower or Empire State Building, including David Backes.
At least it seemed that way to Backes when trying to avoid contact with Henrik Lundqvist at a pivotal point of Thursday’s anticipated Bruins-Rangers showdown.
Trailing 2-1 and with momentum on their side with 2:42 left in regulation, Backes was chasing a loose puck in order to retain possession. Standing in his way was Lundqvist, who stuck his arm out and with Backes inches near him as he tries to avoid the goal crease, fell to the ice and drew an interference penalty to give the Rangers a late power play opportunity.
“I obviously don’t agree with it obviously. I think we can watch in the replay I’m going to the net and trying to avoid contact,” Backes said following the loss.
Backes goaltender interference penalty late in the 3rd as the Bruins trail 2-1 pic.twitter.com/CJRCTOADE3
— steph (@myregularface) March 3, 2017
Even more frustrating than the call itself was the timing. Sure the Bruins could have been better in their defensive zone earlier in the period. Two mistakes by Zdeno Chara and Brandon Carlo led to goals by Pavel Buchenvich and Oscar Lindberg 4:25 apart to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead.
The Bruins had their chances against Lundqvist all night long and finally converted at 12:56 in the third when Brad Marchand banked home a rebound after a beautiful play by David Pastrnak to pull them within one.
Bruce Cassidy’s squad kept pushing for the equalizer in the next several minutes. That was until Lundqvist, celebrating his 35th birthday, pulled a Broadway-style performance on Backes, at least in his opinion.
“[Lundqvist] comes up to initiate it, and I look and the ref’s arm is in the air, and I sit for the next two minutes in a game where we had tons of momentum and we’re making a push at the end, and instead, they get a power play and kill most of the last two and a half minutes, and even then, we get a couple chances there at the end,” Backes added. “Frustrating way to finish a game when we played pretty well through the whole time and we were making a push there at the end.
“We got a goal to get close and get back in it. We had some good pressure and that kind of took the wind out of our sails,” Cassidy said about the timing of Backes’ penalty. “Whether you agree with the call or not we had a good push going so I guess you’ll never know.”
With goaltender interference calls on the rise, the gray area of what constitutes such a call remains perplexing. On this night, in a game where one can argue that the B’s outplayed the Rangers, Backes, Marchand and the rest of the team are left scratching their heads.
“Yeah, I mean, I don’t think we really agreed with it. You could see he puts his arm up to block Backes. You know, that’s pretty frustrating,” said Marchand, who encountered his own frustrations on a goalie interference call with Lundqvist in last season’s Black Friday meeting. [Lundqvist] gets so far out of the net there and interferes with Backes and they get the call, you know, that kind of ended the game for us, so that’s pretty frustrating.”
Lundqvist frustrated the Bruins all night long tallying 32 saves in the win. His last act on Thursday night solidified the B’s frustration.