BOSTON -- Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy did not hold back when voicing his displeasure with the officiating in Game 5 of his team's second-round playoff series against the New York Islanders.
The Islanders had four power plays and scored on three of them. It was the biggest factor in the Isles' 5-4 victory Monday night at TD Garden, which gave them a 3-2 series lead. The Bruins dominated during 5-on-5 action with a 35-15 edge in shots, but a poor penalty kill proved fatal for Boston.
Cassidy was clearly upset in his postgame Zoom call and provided some candid comments on both the referees and the Islanders.
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"We're playing a team that has very respected management and coaching staff, they've won a Stanley Cup. But I think they sell a narrative over there that it's more like the New York Saints and not the New York Islanders," Cassidy said. "They play hard and they play the right way, but I feel we're the same way.
"The exact calls that get 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 reason. You've got continuous high sticks every game, the exact same high sticks -- Bergeron behind the net with (Brock) Nelson, the one that comes up on (Craig) Smith (tonight), (Brad) Marchand got called for that in Game 1. I could go on and on. (Chris) 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 going, 'Every call against us sucks.' That's not true.
"It's just that at the end of the day, similar plays, they need to be penalized on those plays. But I think they've done a great job selling that narrative that they're clean. They play hard, 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, but you play through it."
Here is Islanders head coach Barry Trotz's response to Cassidy's candid remarks.
The worst of the calls against the Bruins came late in the first period when Sean Kuraly was penalized for slashing. The replay didn't show a ton of forceful stick contact from Kuraly, and certainly not anything more intense than what was seen on numerous plays before that.
The Islanders scored on the ensuing power play to tie the score at one before eventually opening up a 5-2 lead in the third period that the B's were unable to overcome.
We could debate the quality of the officiating all day, but the undisputable fact is the Bruins' penalty kill has been awful throughout the series. If that doesn't change quickly, the B's will soon be planning their summer vacation.