MONTREAL - The buzzword for the Boston Bruins throughout their first round series with the Montreal Canadiens has been discipline, but they didn't show any when it mattered most.
Jeremy Reich's tripping penalty called by Mike Leggo in overtime led to Alex Kovalev's overtime winner in Montreal's 3-2 Game 2 victory Saturday night.
Reich was pursuing Habs defenceman Andrei Markov in the Montreal zone when he reached out with his stick to try and knock the puck. Instead, Markov went down and after a brief pause Leggo raised his arm to call the penalty with the crowd screaming its displeasure.
Though the Bruins to a man took responsibility for their lack of discipline, the idea that the penalty was a home-ice call was fresh on some of their minds.
"I'm not here to criticize the referees, it's tough enough when they have to call it on the spot," said Bruins coach Claude Julien, who was irate when the penalty was called, but calmed down before meeting the media. "But I think it's pretty obvious. When it happened, I looked up and the arm wasn't up. Then the arm went up a little late. Whether he needed time to think about it, I don't know. That's his call."
Reich was also berating both referees after the penalty and after the game, but he says he was more upset about a high stick to his face by Markov that went uncalled immediately before his tripping call.
"We have to stay out of the penalty box, myself included," Reich said. "We can't be taking penalties in overtime."
Reich's penalty came towards the tail end of a high-sticking double-minor handed to Shawn Thornton with 2:17 to play in regulation for drawing blood on Habs winger Tom Kostopoulos who drew three penalties that led to four Canadiens power plays on the night.
Thornton said he hit Kostopoulos' stick and that it rode up into the face, but he took responsibility for putting himself in that position. However, when it came to the call on Reich he wasn't quite as diplomatic.
"That's a bit of home ice advantage," Thornton said.
"If the fans let him know there was a penalty, then they let him know. Hopefully, we'll get the same home ice advantage (Sunday)."
The Bruins' start to the game was night and day compared to their disastrous start in Game 1, and they were effectively controlling the game until captain Zdeno Chara took a retaliatory cross-checking penalty on Kostopoulos in the neutral zone at 14:03 of the first.
Montreal went ahead 1-0 a few minutes later and made it 2-0 early in the second. But Boston's ability to climb back and tie it with two goals in the third period may have proved to everyone doubting the Bruins' chances that they can compete with the Canadiens.
"I think we gave a great effort tonight, we came out with a lot of passion," Thornton said. "We know that if we play our game, we're right there."