To say Carolina Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind'Amour was not pleased with the officiating in Game 1 of his team's first round Stanley Cup Playoff series would be an understatement, to say the least.
The Bruins scored their second goal in controversial fashion Wednesday. Charlie Coyle's tally in the second period gave Boston a 2-1 lead, but Carolina was quick to challenge the goal. The officials reviewed it to determine if there was a hand pass by the Bruins, but the call on the ice ultimately stood.The league's explanation of the review was that "Hurricanes goaltender Petr Mrazek controlled the puck prior to Charlie Coyle’s goal, which nullified the potential hand pass.”
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But if Mrazek controlled the puck, shouldn't the whistle have blown to stop play? Yes, it should have -- the referees screwed up on that one. The Bruins were able to jar the puck loose from Mrazek's glove and Coyle capitalized.
The Bruins eventually won 4-3 in double overtime on a Patrice Bergeron goal to take a 1-0 series lead.
Brind'Amour didn't hold back in his postgame comments.
“This is why the league’s a joke, in my opinion, on these things,” Brind’Amour told Luke DeCock of The News & Observer. “That one is a crime scene.”
There also seemed to be some confusion over what Brind'Amour was challenging, and he wasn't happy with the communication from the officials.
“They came to me, and I said, ‘If he has possession of it then it’s goalie interference. If he doesn’t have possession then it’s a hand pass. It’s one of the two. I don’t know what you’re calling on the ice,’” Brind’Amour said, per DeCock. “All he has to do is tell me. ‘We’re calling it nonpossession (by Mrazek),’ then we’re challenging a glove-hand pass. If it’s possession, then goaltender interference. I said, ‘Tell me the call on the ice.’ They wouldn’t do it when I say, ‘What is the call?’ So I had to flip a coin. ...
“I said, ‘What was the call on the ice?’ and he said, ‘You’ve got to call one or the other.’ It should be so easy. If they said the goalie had it, then it’s an easy call. They wouldn’t tell you. It makes no sense. I know we weren’t the better team, but if that goal doesn’t go in, do we win that game? I don’t know.”
The Hurricanes didn't trail for long after Coyle's goal. In fact, Boston's first lead inside the Toronto bubble lasted only 21 seconds as the Hurricanes tied the score when Brock McGinn beat Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask on a shorthanded breakaway.
Both teams did a nice job responding to adversity in Game 1. The Hurricanes scored first, but the Bruins bounced back with a tying goal late in the opening period. Carolina fell behind 2-1 and 3-2 but was able to equalize twice to force overtime.
Losing in double overtime is always very frustrating, but the Hurricanes should be encouraged by their performance Wednesday. The 'Canes gave the Presidents' Trophy winners all they could handle and more, and nearly came away with a series-opening win. Boston swept Carolina in last season's Eastern Conference Final and never trailed in the final three games. We should expect this first-round series to be far more competitive, especially after seeing Carolina's resiliency in Game 1.