[UPDATE: Cassidy’s comments have earned him a $25,000 fine from the NHL.]
As crucial as some of Semyon Varlamov‘s saves were, let’s make no mistake about it. The Islanders’ power play made the biggest difference in their 5-4 win over the Bruins in Game 5.
The Isles cashed in on their first three power-play opportunities, finishing 3-for-4. The Bruins were pretty dangerous in their own right, but only scored one power-play goal on two opportunities.
Bruins’ Cassidy criticizes Game 5 penalties in Islanders’ favor
During Game 5, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy looked increasingly livid about the Islanders’ power-play opportunities. Especially as the Islanders received the first three power plays of Game 5.
Cassidy was surprisingly candid about the situation after Game 5.
"I think they sell a narrative over there that's more like the New York Saints, not the New York Islanders"
Bruce Cassidy had a lot to say after the B's loss tonight pic.twitter.com/vedAMAaSXe
— NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSBoston) June 8, 2021
If you’d rather skip that video, Ty Anderson transcribed Bruce Cassidy’s post-Game 5 comments about penalties/power-play calls for the Bruins and Islanders.
“I think they sell a narrative over there it’s more like the New York Saints, not the New York Islanders,” Cassidy said. “The exact calls that are getting called on us are not getting called on them. I don’t know why. You got the exact same high sticks … You just hope they’d see them.”
On a more granular level, Cassidy also critiqued officials for throwing Patrice Bergeron out of face-offs. Despite that specificity, it was pretty salty stuff from Cassidy regarding the refs:
Bruce Cassidy on Patrice Bergeron getting tossed out of faceoff circle: "Have a little respect for Patrice Bergeron. That's the way you treat him? (The officials) just need to be better than that. Quit listening to these outside influences. I don't think they were great tonight"
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) June 8, 2021
That sure seems like the sort of thing that will get you fined by the NHL, eh?
Then again, if Cassidy believes it might earn the Bruins a call or two in a must-win Game 6 on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN), then it might be worth it.
Do Cassidy and the Bruins have a point about the penalties that went the Islanders’ way in Game 5? As you can see from the video above this post’s headline, Patrick Sharp and Anson Carter went over the calls heading into the third period. The verdict? A mix of the Bruins having a point about some Game 5 calls, but also the Islanders exploiting B’s mistakes.
For Barry Trotz’s part, he didn’t quite understand Cassidy’s “New York Islanders/New York Saints” barb.
Trotz on Cassidy's "New York Saints" remark: "I don't know what he means by that. We were one of the least penalized teams in the league all year… You'll have to ask him what he means by that."
— Arthur Staple (@StapeAthletic) June 8, 2021
Even before those comments, it was a situation to watch. So are the press conferences, apparently.
For what it’s worth, here’s a tally of the power plays, including success rates, between the Islanders and Bruins through Game 5.
Bruins – Islanders Game 5 power play/penalty tallies
Game 1: Islanders 1-for-3; Bruins 2-for-2
Game 2: Islanders 2-for-3; Bruins 1-for-2
Game 3: Islanders 0-for-3; Bruins 0-for-2
Game 4: Islanders 0-for-2; Bruins 1-for-3
Game 5: Islanders 3-for-4; Bruins 1-for-2
BRUINS VS. ISLANDERS (NYI leads series 3-2) – series livestream link
Game 1: Bruins 5, Islanders 2
Game 2: Islanders 4, Bruins 3 (OT)
Game 3: Bruins 2, Islanders 1 (OT)
Game 4: Islanders 4, Bruins 1
Game 5: Islanders 5, Bruins 4
Game 6: Wed. June 9: Bruins at Islanders, 7:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
*Game 7: Fri. June 11: Islanders at Bruins TBD
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.