Washington 4, Bruins 3: Pouliot’s slashing penalty & Bergeron’s status

Pouliot/By D. Hickling

BOSTON – If Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals was the Bruins’ last home game of the 2011-12 season, Benoit Pouliot certainly soured it.

Seconds after turning over the puck to Washington center Nicklas Backstrom, Pouliot slashed Backstrom twice in an attempt to recover the puck. The ensuing power play led to Troy Brouwer’s game-winning goal with just 1:27 remaining in regulation.

“Tough call. I’ll leave it to you guys, but it’s a tough call to make with 2:50 left in the game when everything … it’s a grind out there,” Pouliot said after the loss. “Sometimes you get the calls, sometimes you don’t. And it happened, they got it.”

The Bruins trail the series 3-2 heading into Game 6 Sunday at 3 p.m. For my game story on Game 5, log on to NHL.com.

Bruins head coach Claude Julien was infuriated by the officiating a few times. Earlier in the game, the referees didn’t blow the play dead when Zdeno Chara hit the ice after a Jason Chimera elbow or when Joe Corvo was felled by a Marcus Johansson slap shot. The Capitals went ahead 1-0 in the second period on an Alexander Semin goal during the shift Corvo was hobbled.

“Well that’s exactly what happened – the guy’s down, he’s hurt and there’s no whistle. And so basically he’s trying to get up and again, that supposedly is the referee’s discretion, and the other night [in Game 4] they felt that a quick whistle was the thing to do, and tonight they decided it wasn’t on both occasions,” Julien said. “And yeah, you’re right, it’s an elbow to the back of the head and that goes uncalled.

“And unfortunately on the winning-goal it’s a very weak call [on Pouliot] in my mind and it ended up costing us the winning goal.”

▪Corvo returned to the bench in the second period but did not skate in the third period. Patrice Bergeron was also slowed by an injury, and Julien said the center was still being looked at while the team was preparing to leave for Washington.

Bergeron took a Semin elbow in the second period and was drilled twice by Alexander Ovechkin in the third period. Bergeron skated just three third-period shifts and didn’t take a faceoff during the last stanza.

Dennis Seidenberg started Boston’s rally from 2-0 down in the second period. And then Brad Marchand scored his first goal of the series to tie the game just 28 seconds later. It was the eighth time this season the Bruins scored twice in less than 30 seconds and 17th time they scored twice in less than one minute.

▪After all the line changes Friday, the only changes to start Game 5 saw Brian Rolston on a line with David Krejci and Milan Lucic, and Tyler Seguin with Chris Kelly and Pouliot. In the second period, Rolston and Seguin swapped lines again just before the Bruins started their comeback.

▪Krejci was a bit more active after registering just one shot on net in Game 4. He landed one shot on goal, had four shots miss the target and assisted on Seidenberg’s goal.

Johnny Boychuk’s third-period goal that tied the game at 3 snapped the Bruins’ power-play drought in the series at 0-for-14. Oddly enough, Boychuk was probably only on the power play because of Corvo’s injury.

▪The Bruins can never have enough of Shawn Thornton’s energy. In addition to the slight line tweak, the Bruins also benefited from one of Thornton’s patented tough-guy shifts just prior to their two-goal outburst in the second period. The shift finished with Thornton flying into Washington forward Matt Hendricks on the forecheck.

“You want to finish your checks and get pucks in deep and there was an opportunity to finish the check and that’s what we tried to do and created a little energy and the guys did a good job of following it up and scoring two goals to tie it in the second,” Thornton said.

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