The Bruins got shafted by a controversial call in OT and it may have cost them the game

The Bruins were lucky to even make it to overtime on Monday night in Boston. They started Game 3 against Ottawa completely flat and fell into a 3-0 hole to the Senators early.

After climbing back in dramatic fashion, the Bruins forced OT and had in front of them an opportunity to win one of those games that leaves an opponent demoralized and potentially alters the course of a series.

Instead, it was Boston that was ultimately left demoralized, thanks in large part to a brutal job of officiating in the extra frame. That poor officiating paved the way for the Sens to take a 2-1 series lead on a power-play goal.

About five minutes into OT, play was blown dead and Bruins forward Riley Nash was handed a two-minute minor penalty for roughing. The call came after Nash took a swipe at Senators forward Bobby Ryan and caught him in the face with a quick gloved jab. Ryan may have helped the call along, but the two minutes for Nash were fair.

Upon review of the replay, though, the jab came in response to a clear-cut check to the head from Ryan. There’s no question that Ryan’s hit also deserved a penalty, but one never came. Nash headed to the box by himself and the Senators headed to the power play.

It was such an egregious ruling that even NBC’s Pierre McGuire seemed pretty steamed over it on the broadcast.

To give him credit, Pierre’s assessment is spot-on. That’s a sequence that can’t result in a man-advantage for the Senators, especially in overtime of a playoff game. If you’re going to send Nash off, you have to send Ryan off with a matching minor as well.

The ruling is bad enough in a vacuum, but it becomes even worse when you consider how inconsistent it was with the way the game was called during regulation. Here’s a third period exchange that resulted in matching roughing minors:

Ottawa’s Marc Methot delivers a punch straight to the grill of Boston’s Tim Schaller, who doesn’t respond, yet both players were sent off.

It was still a poor decision on Nash’s part to retaliate the way that he did — even if the refs had called Ryan’s check, a power play for the Boston would have been negated by Nash’s jab — and after the game the Bruins forward called his actions “selfish.” Regardless of the way the game had previously been called, if Nash assumed Ryan would be penalized and he wouldn’t be, he was wrong to do so.

Still, it’s a tough pill to swallow for the Bruins. Boston head coach Bruce Cassidy called the ruling “terrible” but acknowledged that it was on his team to kill the penalty regardless, which they failed to do.

The refs didn’t score the overtime goal or force the Bruins to blow coverage on the deciding tally from, who else, Ryan, but it’s still frustrating when the officials play such a strong factor in the outcome of a game, especially when it’s a playoff game between two teams who battled pretty evenly all night long.

Now, it’s on the Bruins to put it behind them and bounce back in Game 4 or head back to Ottawa while staring down a first-round exit.