One day after vigorously ripping the officials for an “egregious” missed tripping call on Tyler Bozak kicking out Noel Acciari’s legs in a play that directly led to the Blues game-winning goal in Game 5, Bruins bench boss Bruce Cassidy was moving on. He said immediately in the postgame of the 2-1 loss that the officiating during Thursday night’s Game 5 was a “black eye” for the NHL, but Cassidy was refocusing on Sunday night’s Game 6 in a do-or-die Stanley Cup Final game against the St. Louis Blues at the Enterprise Center.
“Today is a new day. We're going to move forward and get ready for Game 6. That's what's in front of us. The other part, to expand a little bit, I've coached Noel Acciari for a long time. He's hard on the puck. That's his job, is to win pucks. He's a penalty killer and he's a shot-blocker. After the game, it's tough when you lose, generally coaches don't address the group, you will from time to time,” said Cassidy, during an off-day media availability with the media corps on Friday morning. “You walk through the room, you see a guy, he's despondent. He feels like he cost the team a game. That's a guy I feel for. I've grown tight to this group, these players.
“They lay it on the line. I feel as bad for him as anything else. There's no call, so he feels like he didn't win his puck battle. That's a tough one. I have to pick that player up moving forward. There's a little bit of emotion that comes in after the game. The emotion now is we've got to put it behind us and we got to win Game 6. That's what's in front of us. How do we prepare to win Game 6? That's where my mindset is today.”
Nobody could blame Cassidy for being upset about the missed tripping call on Bozak that led to a game-winning, the missed Alex Pietrangelo hold on Torey Krug that led to a near-goal blocked by David Krejci, the Ivan Barbashev head shot targeted against Marcus Johansson and the Zach Sanford head shot that leveled Krug as well. None of those plays resulted in penalties on the Blues and all of them could have easily been called.
Certainly the focus has to be a lot less on the officiating that’s been suspect in the last two games, and needs to be more on generating offense, finishing off plays and figuring out a way for his top lines to being much more effective during 5-on-5 situations. That’s where the Stanley Cup Final is going to be won or lost whether the B’s make a desperate last stand during Game 6 in St. Louis, or push it Game 7 where the true champions and legends are made, and where the Bruins have an overwhelming amount of experience should they get there.
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