Refs frustrate Bruins in Game 5

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Refs frustrate Bruins in Game 5

The Bruins were doing their best to simply grin and bear it after feeling like theyd been screwed.

But playoff hockey brings out passion, and there were plenty of impassioned responses when the conversation turned to the referees and some of the lowlights from Bostons 4-3 loss in Game 5 at TD Garden in their first round series against the Washington Capitals.

First there was the conspicuous lack of a whistle when Bruins defensemen Joe Corvo was the unwitting victim of a Mike Green slapper to the knee at the end of a long shift for Corvo and his D-partner Greg Zanon.

Corvo didnt hear the whistle and attempted to get back into the play, but he was unable to do so after being hobbled by the blast. Instead he moved aimlessly searching for his stick while the Capitals attacked the net with a 5-on-4 advantage. Alex Semin eventually smacked home the rebound of a Dennis Wideman shot, and the Bruins were suddenly down 1-0 with goals at a premium in the series.

Claude Julien recalled a pair of instances in Game 4 when plays where whistled dead with Boston possession in the Washington zone and a Capitals player down and out with an injury. But thats not what happened with Tim Peel and Steve Kozari working the game in Boston on Saturday afternoon.

Julien fumed at the referees after the goal, but to no avail.

That was probably the frustrating part for me. We were in Washington last game and twice their players go down in their own end and we had full control of the puck, said Claude Julien. The whistle was blown right away with no hesitation. Tonight were deciding were not stopping the play.

So, I guess I was a little perturbed is there two sets of rules or one? I know theyre different referees but its still the same series. So that was frustrating because they ended up scoring a goal on that. That was my frustration on that goal and its unfortunate thats how it ended up.

Perhaps even more trouble is that each of the last two game-winning goals for the Capitals have been on third period power play goals and this coming after the Washington Caps owner groused that the Stanley Cup champs will always get the benefit of the doubt on his personal blog.

The hooking call on Patrice Bergeron that led to the Game 4 winner was a borderline call at best. But the slashing call on Benoit Pouliot with less than three minutes to go in the third period of a tied playoff hockey is the kind of thing that should never happen unless one player got medieval on another with their stick.

Or perhaps that call could be made if blood was drawn or an appendage was missing. But a tic-tac penalty call in the final three minutes of regulation leading to a power play goal in the playoffs is taking things right out of the players hands.

There are almost no instances during the playoffs when a bogus penalty call should affect the outcome for either team, and it should always be decided by 5-on-5 hockey deep in the third period of a playoff game.

The game-winning power play goal for Troy Brouwer was, of course, a soft one from the outside surrendered by Tim Thomas, but the Bruins were more upset about what many considered a soft penalty.

It was like that all game. To call that slash at the end it is disappointing. But there is nothing you can do about it, said Pouliot. You just have to show up tomorrow. Its a tough call.

I will leave it to you guys, but it was a tough call to make at 2:15 in the game. It is a grind out there. Sometimes you get the calls and sometimes you dont. It happened that they got it.

Its happened that the Washington Capitals have received quite a few of the calls since Ted Leonsis made his public plea, and since the referees missed an off-side call prior to Bostons game-winning goal in Game 3. But those kinds of things tend to even out over the course of a seven-game series, and that means Boston may have a break or two headed in their direction.

The best thing the Bruins can do: make sure the last two games arent close enough that their efforts could be undone by an unfavorable call or two along the way.

Patriots-Rams notes: Brady and the defense have record-setting days

Patriots-Rams notes: Brady and the defense have record-setting days

FOXBORO -- Notes from the Patriots' 26-10 win over the Rams Sunday, courtesy of the Pats' P.R. department:

TEAM NOTES

A DEFENSIVE FIRST : The Patriots allowed just 25 total first-half yards to the Rams, the lowest total in a half in team history. The previous low was 28 yards by the Jets in the first half on Dec. 26, 2005 in a 31-25 New England win.

A DEFENSIVE SECOND: The Patriots yielded just 36 yards rushing to the Rams, the second time this season New England has held its opponent to fewer than 40 rushing yards. Cleveland rushed for only 27 yards in Week 5.

BY THE NUMBERS DEFENSIVELY: The Patriots have now held the opposition to less than 20 points in 8 of their 12 games this year, and are allowing just 17.3 ppg.

PATS HIT 10-VICTORY MARK FOR 14TH CONSECUTIVE SEASON: The Patriots are now 10-2 and have won 10 or more games for 14 consecutive season, the second-longest streak in NFL history. The 1983-98 49ers had a 16-year streak

RECORD-SETTING PERFORMANCE: Tom Brady did not throw an interception Sunday and Patriots QBs have been picked off just once in the first 12 games of the season, an NFL record. The previous record for fewest interceptions thrown in the first 12 games was three, held jointly by the 2016 Vikings, 2015 Chiefs, 1993 Cowboys and 190 Chiefs. The NFL record for fewest interceptions in a season is five.

INDIVIDUAL NOTES

THE GOAT: As noted elsewhere, Brady became the winningest QB in NFL history with his 201st career victory.

HOME BODY: Since 2007, Brady is 62-6 overall at home in the regular season. That is more wins than five teams (home and away) have combined during that span. (60 by the Bucs, 57 by the Raiders, 52 by the Jaguars, 47 by the Browns and 46 by the Rams).

GETTING CLOSER: LeGarrette Blount scored on a 43-yard run in the first quarter and is now one rushing TD away from the tying the franchise record for rushing touchdowns in a season. He has 13, one behind Curtis Martin (who scored 14 in both 1995 and 1996).

SOME FIRSTS:
-- CB Logan Ryan sacked Rams QB Jared Goff for a loss of 12½ yards in the second quarter for his first sack since 2013.
-- LB Kyle Van Noy recorded his first NFL interception when he picked off a QB Jared Goff pass in the third quarter.
-- WR Julian Edelman finished with 8 receptions for 101 yards, his first 100-yard game of the 2016 season. (He now has eight 100-yard games in the regular season and two in the postseason.)

Gostkowski credits 'faith in the process' after bounce-back game vs. Rams

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Gostkowski credits 'faith in the process' after bounce-back game vs. Rams

FOXBORO -- With four games remaining on the schedule, Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski has reached career-highs that he wishes he hasn't: Four missed field goals, three missed extra points. In Weeks 11 and 12, he missed one of each. 

But after making all six of his kicks in Sunday's 26-10 win over the Rams, Gostkowski called his latest performance "a start," as in a step in the right direction. 

"Every week is a different challenge," he said. "You just gotta battle. Keep your head down, stay humble, show up and control your attitude and your effort, make sure both of those are good, and have faith in the process that what you've been doing is going to continue to work."

Gostkowski drilled both of his extra-point attempts in the first half, and when the Patriots offense stalled later in the game -- it finished 4-for-16 on third down -- he bailed it out with his right foot. 

He made a 48-yarder from the right hash, a 45-yarder from the left hash and a 45-yarder from the right hash on consecutive series that stretched from the third quarter and into the fourth. It was a series that all but put to rest questions about whether or not the placement of the football and his angle into kicks was giving him trouble of late.

Against the 49ers, after missing a point-after attempt, he moved all of his extra-point attempts from the middle of the field to the inside of the left hash. Against the Jets his lone miss came from the right hash.

Gostkowski acknowledged that he's been tinkering in recent weeks, but he explained that it's something he's done since joining the Patriots.

"You fine tune every week," he said. "When you play in New England, you could have cold weather, hot weather, windy weather, snow. It's a daily change out there. It's not a climate controled environment. You're fine-tuning every day . . . You're going to go through that during a long season. It's no different than any other season I've had." 

When asked if it was safe to assume that his confidence had waivered at points this season, the 11-year veteran indicated that it wasn't so much a confidence issue as it was a perfectionist's approach that led to frustration when the misses mounted.

"In athletics, I've gone through ups and downs my whole life," he said. "I've always had my confidence when it comes to athletics. Sometimes stubborn to a fault. As long as I'm out there, running out there and getting a chance to play, I expect to do well. No one's harder on themselves than me when I do bad, and I don't plan on changing anytime soon."

With Rob Gronkowski out for the season, the margin for error for everyone on the Patriots has shrunk. That doesn't exclude Gronkowski's teammates in the kicking game, and Gostkowski in particular, who will be depended upon to convert drives stopped short into points. Sunday's outing was a reminder of what Gostkowski can do, and an indication that as his team comes down the stretch of the regular season, he's getting right.  

"Every year's different challenges, different opportunities," he said. "You're only as good as your opportunities in this game. You're lucky to get some good opportunities. You don't get a lot of second chances. That's just part of the job. You know that going in. It's a mental and physical grind week in and week out to do well. I'm not going to change the way that I am competitively win, lose or draw."