The Boston Bruins battled back on Monday night against the Ottawa Senators, clawing their way out of a 0-3 hole to tie the game, sending it to overtime.
Their resilience was admirable. Their retaliation, though, cost them.
An elbow from Ottawa’s Bobby Ryan went uncalled in overtime, but a retaliatory punch by Riley Nash was spotted by the officials. The whistle blew, with Nash picking up the lone penalty on the play.
“It was terrible, let’s face it,” said Boston head coach Bruce Cassidy. “We all saw it. It’s nothing about getting in trouble with the league. I don’t agree with the call, I thought it was terrible. But they called it, and you’ve got to kill it.”
Adding insult to injury, as Nash sat in the box, the overtime game-winner was scored by none other than Bobby Ryan.
Even NBC’s Pierre McGuire weighed in, astonished at the penalty call.
You don't often hear Pierre McGuire get this fired up, but he's not wrong pic.twitter.com/f1UjENtvhM
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) April 18, 2017
This is nothing unusual. Retaliations often get penalized, with the original infraction missed altogether. That first incident draws the ref’s attention, resulting in a penalty to whatever happens next. Did both guys deserve penalties? Sure. As we know, the officials won’t catch everything. That’s when it’s up to the players to remain disciplined.
More often than not, the officials will catch the retaliation.
They did on Monday, and it left the Bruins trailing 2-1 in their first round series.