BOSTON – Call it “crap”, call it the Bruins getting their cages a bit rattled or call it the Black and Gold getting a bit too preoccupied with the refs calling – or not calling – penalties fairly and evenly through the game.
The Canadiens did enjoy twice as many power plays as the Bruins (6-to-3) in the 60 minute hockey game, but complaining about the officiating can become a loser’s lament awfully quickly.
The Bruins players and coaches were way too concerned about penalties being called in the first two periods to the point where Boston reached their frustration point, a place where Montreal can bring them all too easily. Claude Julien finally lost it with under two minutes to go in the second period to the point where he earned Boston an unsportsmanlike conduct for his ref chirping.
The B’s bench boss then clearly vented a bit in the second intermission between the second and third period, and one could see the differences in the comeback third period.
“I think we just talked about staying composed, I think we were getting a little too riled up about the penalties called, and how we felt about them,” said Brad Marchand. “We just wanted to regroup, and stay a little more disciplined, and just focus on playing our game.”
The Bruins didn’t want to see anymore of Zdeno Chara snapping his head back looking for a penalty in the first period during a skirmish with P.K. Subban early in the first period. They weren’t looking for Kevan Miller and Andrej Meszaros getting their sticks up near the heads of Montreal players for penalties away from the puck, and then somehow looking surprised when they were whistled for penalties.
The Bruins don’t work the refs, don’t whine about missed calls and certainly shouldn’t be interested in trading matching penalties with the Canadiens, which is the most likely outcome when they start rolling in the dirt with the Habs.
“We had that tough second period and at the start of the third, they got that other power play goal. But the way we just battled back through, I felt, a lot of crap that we put up with today…it was pretty indicative of what our team’s all about,” said Julien. “It just shows that if you focus on the things you need to focus on, there’s a pretty good team that can accomplish a lot.
“Once we put everything aside and just said, listen, ‘let’s control what we can control here’ and when we did that, we kind of took it over. We know that it’s not going to get any easier heading to Montreal, so we have to be ready to face adversity at different times because that’s always going to be there.”
The bottom line is: being driven to distraction or campaigning for penalty calls is something that’s not a part of the Boston Bruins DNA, and plays much more to the strengths of the Habs than it does the Bruins.
“We should have [that composure] in here. We’ve been through a lot,” said Shawn Thornton. “This time of year, it’s not about showing who’s the bigger man or who’s tougher, it’s about wins and losses. You ride that line, you play on the edge, but you try not to cross it.”
That much was obvious in the first two periods when the Bruins were trailing Montreal headed into the third period, and crossing the line with regularity. Once they just started playing straight ahead hockey in the third period, that’s when good things began to happen for the Black and Gold.