BOSTON — Bruins coach Claude Julien did not mince words Sunday night after his team was burned by a suspect embellishment call for the second time in as many games.
With Boston trailing the Tampa Bay Lightning by two goals midway through the second period, a referee whistled defenseman Zdeno Chara for embellishment, turning what would have been a Bruins power play (Ondrej Palat was called for hooking on the play) into two minutes of 4-on-4.
The coinciding calls came despite the fact that Palat’s stick appeared to make contact with Chara’s groin and face.
Ryan Callahan had scored a power-play goal just nine seconds before the matching penalties were handed out, and Steven Stamkos lit the lamp on a penalty shot during the ensuing 4-on-4 to put the finishing touches on a 4-1 Lightning win.
Julien, who saw center Ryan Spooner sent to the sin bin on a similarly questionable call in Friday’s win over the Carolina Hurricanes, voiced his displeasure with the penalty during his postgame news conference.
“That’s two embellishment calls we’ve had so far in probably the last (three days) — the (first one being the) one on Spooner where the guy’s got a stick between his legs and he falls,” Julien said. “That would have put us, I think, 5-on-3, and they called embellishment. And then this one (Sunday night), honestly, it’s a farce. We’re one of the teams that probably embellishes the least in my mind — we try not to. But there’s a lot way worse in this league than those ones, so it’s disappointing. I say it’s a farce because it’s disappointing, to say the least.”
Chara also was surprised by the call.
“That’s not what I’ve been known for, and certainly I wasn’t trying to embellish,” the 6-foot-9 blueliner said. “I was trying to move it, but I couldn’t. But the referee saw it differently. I don’t necessarily agree with it, but that’s something I have to respect.”
Julien did, however, agree with the decision to penalize Bruins forward Zac Rinaldo for an illegal check to the head during the first period. Rinaldo’s hit on Lightning center Cedric Paquette sent Paquette down to the ice and then to the dressing room, and Tampa Bay scored its first goal of the game on the resulting power play.
“I think it was the right call,” Julien said. “The shoulder hit the head. So, that’s part of what you’ve got to do here in this league. We can criticize some of the calls tonight, but that one there I thought was right. … I think the one on Rinaldo was certainly warranted.”
Overall, though, Julien did not view Sunday as a banner night for the men in stripes.
“We as a team can have tough nights, and guaranteed, referees have tough nights, too,” the coach said. “They’re not any better than we are; they’re not any worse than we are. So, sometimes you’ve got to live with those kinds of things.”
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images
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