BOSTON — Other Boston Bruins players tiptoed around the controversial play, including the man involved.
But Brad Marchand isn’t one for tiptoeing.
The B’s winger gave a blunt answer when asked about Nikita Kucherov’s takedown of Charlie McAvoy late in the third period of Friday night’s Game 4 at TD Garden.
“We had the lead. It was a very blatant grab on Chuckie’s (McAvoy’s) shoulder,” Marchand said after the 4-3 overtime loss that gave the Lightning a commanding 3-1 lead in the teams’ second-round Stanley Cup playoffs series.
“Turned into a goal, so you know, the missed calls that are costing goals and games — it’s unfortunate that they can’t get it right. Hopefully they can fix that.”
Correct no-call or not, the play’s impact was undeniable. McAvoy’s tumble helped free up Lightning star Steven Stamkos, who blasted a one-timer past Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask seconds later to tie the score at 3-3 with just over seven minutes remaining in regulation.
McAvoy bit his tongue when asked for his reaction to the no-call.
“I don’t have anything to say about the officiating,” the rookie defenseman said. “I know how I feel, but I’m not going to comment on it.”
While McAvoy’s teammates (not named Marchand) did their best to be diplomatic, their frustration with the play still shone through.
“I don’t know, it looked clear from where I was,” B’s forward Rick Nash said. “That’s a better question for (the official).”
Even the normally tight-lipped Zdeno Chara weighed in when pressed on whether he thought Kucherov would be whistled for a penalty.
“I’m not going to lie, yeah, I thought so,” Chara said.
Of course, the Bruins know better than to blame an entire game on officiating. They were outscored 3-0 during 5-on-5 play in Game 4 and still had a chance to win in overtime before Dan Girardi delivered the game-winner. But they clearly weren’t pleased with the zebras after a loss that pushed them to the brink of playoff elimination.
“Seem to be going down this road a lot lately in these things, about the non-calls,” head coach Bruce Cassidy said after the game. “It looked like (Kucherov) reached around, pulled him down. Charlie’s a strong guy, but it wasn’t called, and it’s in our net, and that’s that.
“There was nothing you can do about it after; you’ve got to keep playing, and we did, but (the Lightning) made the first play in overtime.”
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images