By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) -- The Bruins prevailed in double overtime over the Capitals on Wednesday night at the TD Garden, thanks to Craig Smith's thievery and quickness behind the Washington net almost six minutes into the second overtime period.
It was an enormous lift for the home team, no doubt. But Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy couldn't help but feel as though his team -- and notably, star winger David Pastrnak -- had gotten a raw deal a couple of minutes earlier.
Pastrnak streaked toward the Washington net a little over four minutes into that double overtime period, looking to beat Ilya Samsonov for the game-winner. But Pastrnak was harassed by the stick of Evgeny Kuznetsov on the back-check, before winger T.J. Oshie entered the picture and also got his stick on Pastrnak.
As Pastrnak deked, he lost control of his body, and he ended up crashing into the end boards at a high rate of speed. Play continued as Pastrnak remained down in pain, but the whistle soon blew so that Boston's training staff could tend to Pastrnak.
No penalty was called on either Capitals player, despite Dan O'Rourke skating mere feet away from the stick contat. Even while respecting the higher threshold for infractions in playoff overtime, Cassidy believes that one was a missed call.
"Absolutely. I thought they missed that one. Two sticks got on him. One clearly affected his shot," Cassidy said. "Listen, I know officials have a tough job, and it's overtime, and you want to make sure. But to me, I've always felt that those are the calls that you almost have to make, right? If a guy's in all alone, it's a goal scoring chance, an obvious one. I thought they missed that one. Obviously, they didn't feel the same way. Good to see our guys play through it."
Cassidy was likely sharing his honest view of matters. But now a veteran of the postseason grind, he may have been politicking so that his team does get a call in a similar situation that may arise going forward this series.
Such commentary has already proven fruitful for Cassidy. A day after the Game 1 loss in Washington, he said he had an issue with Zdeno Chara and Craig Anderson colliding and knocking the Washington net off its moorings, thereby killing a quality Bruins scoring chance. Though Wednesday's Game 3 had a different pair of referees, the Bruins did benefit from a penalty called on Alex Ovechkin for hitting a Boston player into the Washington net during an early opportunity for the Bruins.
Perhaps those two events are related. Perhaps they're coincidental. But perhaps (yes, that's three straight perhapses; deal with it) Cassidy watched Craig Berube get the upper hand in the working-the-refs angle two years ago and doesn't want to get caught flat-footed.
Or maybe this was indeed a case where a penalty -- or maybe even a penalty shot -- should have been called. In any event, the double-overtime game-winner from Smith likely helped Cassidy in delivering his displeasure with what he believed to have been a missed call in a big spot that went against his team.
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