Boston Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy, now facing elimination for the first time during the Eastern Conference playoffs inside the Toronto bubble, expressed his frustration with a 5-minute major penalty on Saturday, after Boston’s 3-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 4.
A boarding major on Nick Ritchie for a questionable hit on Tampa Bay’s Yanni Gourde paved the way for a critical Lightning goal by Norris Trophy finalist Victor Hedman.
Ritchie appeared to hit Gourde from behind a few feet away from the boards, and Gourde went left shoulder first into the boards. Officials gave Ritchie the major after reviewing video, and Gourde left before returning early in the third period.
« Clearly, Gourde was down on the play and he’s a good player — real good player for them — clever, obviously, » Cassidy said. « He got them on the power play for 5 minutes, he finished the game, had no problems in the third period. I didn’t agree with the call. »
Ritchie said he was trying to finish his check after Gourde got rid of the puck. Still, he could face suspension, which Lightning coach Jon Cooper said might be the case in the regular season, but he wondered if the major penalty might get Ritchie « off the hook » of missing Game 5.
Boston received a power-play goal from Jake DeBrusk in the third period to end any thoughts of a Tampa Bay shutout.
The defending Eastern Conference champions have been outscored 10-2 in the past two games and have lost three straight since winning Game 1. Game 5 is Monday.
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