The Bruins lost Game 5 by a single goal on home ice Thursday night in Boston, falling into a 3-2 series hole to the Blues in the Stanley Cup Final. It was a tough result, especially considering the goal that proved to be St. Louis’ game-winner shouldn’t have counted.
With the Blues up 1-0 halfway through the third period, Tyler Bozak committed what appeared to be a clear tripping penalty on Noel Acciari, sending the Bruins’ forward crashing to the ice. Acciari remained prone and stunned on the playing surface for an extended period of time as play continued without a penalty call. Just a few seconds later, the Blues scored on a David Perron shot that trickled through Tuukka Rask, giving St. Louis a 2-0 lead.
Instead of getting a power play with a chance to jumpstart a struggling offense and tie the game, the Bruins were dealt a back-breaker.
The Bruins were understandably furious with the sequence, especially upon seeing the replay that clearly shows Bozak sweeping the leg on Acciari. Even the Blues forward seemed to be anticipating a penalty on the sequence, as he immediately turned around to plead with the referee before realizing he was in the clear.
Those in Boston’s corner couldn’t help but throw things in frustration as a result of the horrendous missed call. Fans tossed water bottles and towels onto the ice as they loudly protested the officiating, while team president Cam Neely elected to chuck his water bottle at a wall instead.
Even the Bruins’ official Twitter account, which doesn’t typically bring a lot of brand personality, couldn’t help but fire off a scathing tweet.
It was the latest in a long line of questionable and perplexing officiating rulings this NHL postseason, and this one came on the biggest stage.
After the game, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said that the missed called was “egregious” and “a black eye” for the league.
You can’t quite say that the Bruins lost Game 5 because of the officiating, especially given Boston’s poor offensive showing, but there’s no arguing that a very terrible mistake from the referees proved to be very costly for the Bruins, who now are one loss away from finishing as league runner-up.