TORONTO — Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy says NHL officials can’t be making penalty calls based on a hunch.
Early in Boston’s 4-2 loss in Game 3 to the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre, Bruins foward Riley Nash was handed a delay of game penalty for clearing the puck over the glass from inside his zone.
However, the puck touched the glass before entering the crowd, which would negate the minor penalty, and the four officials missed making the right call, sending Nash to the box at 16:58 of the first period.
"I don’t think you can guess and give someone a power play. I’d prefer if they not guess and erred on the side of caution," said Cassidy, whose team still leads the first-round series 2-1.
Cassidy spoke to the officials at the beginning of the second period and wanted to know who of the four (two referees, two linesmen) decided to give Nash the two-minute penalty.
"My question was: who made the call? There’s no call immediately. When a referee makes a call you kind of live with it because it’s decisive. So now they get together and I assume they want to make the right call, that’s the idea, but to me they got together and clearly they guessed because it hit the glass and we saw that. I think you’re kinda innocent until proven guilty.
"I think if it happened against us I’d say the same thing. You have to be sure it goes out to make that call. Be sure on it if you’re gonna come together."
Seven seconds into Toronto’s power play, James van Riemsdyk scored to put Toronto ahead 1-0. It was the first time in the series the Leafs scored first.
"Certainly not the difference in the game, but you don’t want to play from behind," said Cassidy.
"They capitalized, doesn’t mean that because you disagree with the call that it’s gonna result in a goal," said Cassidy. "They made a good play, they got on top of the crease and earned it, earned their ice. Give them credit."
Bruins forward Brad Marchand agreed with his coach that he would like to see the league do more to prevent the wrong call being made.
"It’s tough, it is frustrating," said Marchand, who was held pointless in Game 3 after producing six points in the first two games at TD Garden.
"Those are maybe the type of plays they should review when it clearly hits the glass. It’s hockey, early in the game. They’ll make mistakes, we’ll make mistakes. Frustrating but we will move on."
Defenceman Adam McQuaid responded at 3:06 of the second to tie the game 1-1 only for forward Patrick Marleau to clap back 43 seconds later with his first of two on the night.
Boston captain Zdeno Chara and Toronto’s Auston Matthews traded goals later in the second period to make it 3-2 Leafs after 40 minutes. Marleau added one more late to seal the victory and keep Toronto’s season very much alive.
"First couple games we had a couple bounces go our way, tonight we didn’t," said Marchand. "That’s hockey. Hopefully we get a few more next game, but give (Toronto) credit."
Game 4 goes Thursday at Air Canada Centre, with Game 5 set for Saturday in Boston.