BOSTON – Riley Nash had his baseball hat pulled down low over his eyes when speaking in the Bruins dressing room following their 4-3 OT loss to the Ottawa Senators in Game 3 of their first round playoff series.
Nash was perhaps trying to hide his emotions following the bitter defeat when it was his roughing penalty in the extra session that led to Bobby Ryan’s power play game-winner, but it was clear he was stepping up and accepting accountability no matter the circumstances.
- Game 3 Highlights: Ottawa Senators 4, Boston Bruins 3 (OT)
- Talking Points: Marchand shut down again in Game 3
- Which player is key to Bruins turning series around?
“I think it was pretty selfish of me, you know…you can’t make that play,” said Nash. “[You] can’t put the refs in that position regardless of what happened before that, you’ve just got to [take it]. It’s pretty tough for the boys.
“It’s been a pretty physical series all three games, so we’ve had some good runs at them. They’ve had some good runs at us. I think that’s just playoff hockey, but it’s just one of those things that, a dirty play here, a dirty play there…it doesn’t matter. You’ve got to bite your lip and just take it.”
In this particular play, Nash had himself a legitimate gripe about the call, however. After watching Senators D-man Marc Methot punch multiple Bruins players - Brad Marchand and Tim Schaller to name two - during regulation play without costing the Senators a power play, Nash didn’t get that same call in overtime. Nash was caught in a battle with a pair of Sens players when he was knocked to his knees against the side boards, and Bobby Ryan took the opportunity to elbow Nash’s head while slamming it against the boards.
Nash took a swipe at Ryan in retaliation while still from his knees, and that’s what referee Tim Peel decided to raise his hand for to call a penalty about in overtime of a Stanley Cup playoff game. Seconds later the B’s penalty kill was in disarray after one Erik Karlsson stretch pass and Ryan had himself a game-winning playoff goal in the aftermath. It was undoubtedly a weak sauce call by Peel to determine the fate of playoff game, and it was utterly mystifying how it wasn’t simply matching penalties for Nash and Ryan in OT, or no penalty called at all at that juncture in the game.
"[The penalty] was demoralizing and disappointing. I think you guys summed it up,” said Bruce Cassidy. “There are probably a lot more words, but they called it. So once they call it, it’s our job to kill it.”
All the complaining in the world from the Bruins isn’t going to change the call or Boston’s fate in Game 3, but any red-blooded hockey fan has to hope the officials don’t choose overtime in too many of these playoff to exert their influence for better or worse.