Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour said the Boston Bruins were handed a goal by the officials when his goalie interference challenge failed to overturn a second-period tally from forward Jake DeBrusk.
"They're too good a team to just give them goals. We have no chance if that happens," said Brind'Amour after Sunday's Game 4 at Boston's TD Garden, a 5-2 Bruins victory that knotted their first-round series at 2.
With 1:16 left in the second period, DeBrusk scored a power-play goal to tie the game at 2. Forward Brad Marchand backhanded the puck on Carolina goalie Antti Raanta, who unsuccessfully tried to cover it. A scramble at the net ensued, and DeBrusk finally tapped the puck over the goal line.
Replays showed that Raanta's left pad was moved by a stick before the goal was scored, knocking him off balance. It wasn't clear whether it was the stick of DeBrusk or that of Carolina defenseman Brett Pesce that had jostled the goalie.
"I didn't have it covered. But I felt like if you can take the goalie out of his balance and then score, it should be goalie interference," said Raanta. "I had a good conversation with the ref. It is what it is."
Brind'Amour opted to use a coach's challenge on the play, but the goal was upheld.
"I would have bet my life on that one," said Brind'Amour. "It's clear -- especially the view that we saw after -- that [the puck] is in between his pads and loose. But the guy came from the side, pushes his pads, squirts the puck out and puts it in. It's a little different if the guy had come in from the front and played the puck. You can't play the puck when it's in between his legs from the side and knock the goalie sideways."
The NHL explained the call by citing Rule 69.7, which states, that "in a rebound situation, or where a goalkeeper and attacking player(s) are simultaneously attempting to play a loose puck, whether inside or outside the crease, incidental contact will be permitted, and any goal that is scored as a result thereof will be allowed."
Carolina was hit with a delay of game penalty. That turned out to be a costly gamble as center Sebastian Aho took a high-sticking double-minor penalty 51 seconds later for bloodying Boston captain Patrice Bergeron, giving the Bruins a 5-on-3 advantage with 25 seconds left in the period. Marchand scored the game-winning goal just 44 seconds into the third period on the power play, just as the delay of game penalty expired.
Marchand had a point (two goals, three assists) on each of the Bruins' five goals in the game.
The delay of game penalty was one of six the Hurricanes took in the second period. Carolina took eight minor penalties in the game for 18 total minutes. The Bruins were 2-for-9 on the power play, playing 12:10 with the man advantage in the game.
"We obviously took too many penalties these last two games. It's just a matter of us being more disciplined. But those guys are really good hockey players," said center Vincent Trocheck.
Game 5 is back in Raleigh on Tuesday night. The Bruins are expected to be without top defenseman Charlie McAvoy, who entered the NHL's COVID-19 protocol on Sunday and missed Game 4.