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Controversy swirls around Bruins’ fifth straight loss

Roberto Luongo shut the door on Matt Beleskey and the Bruins.JOHN TLUMACKI/GLOBE STAFF

The pictures circulated on Twitter, shared on NESN and the TD Garden scoreboard. There it was! There was the sliver of black puck behind the goal line, behind Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo. It appeared to be a goal to the 17,565 fans in attendance, to the players on the ice, to the coaches behind the bench, even to coaches elsewhere.

It was, in fact, from another member of the fraternity that Bruins coach Claude Julien got a text message that started with a profane abbreviation questioning the decision by the officials, and continuing with, “How can that not be a goal?”


“That’s coming from somebody who’s neutral,” Julien said.

It had appeared Patrice Bergeron put the puck between Luongo’s pad and the post, with Bergeron raising his hand to the officials to signal his score. Except, well, it wasn’t. They had called it “no goal” on the ice and then, after review, had determined that the video was inconclusive.

The Panthers remained up by a goal, instead of tied, and went on to a 4-1 win over the Bruins on Thursday, Boston’s fifth straight loss. A loss that put the Bruins in serious jeopardy of missing the playoffs with just seven games remaining.

So, are they worrying about that? About the potential ramifications of both the disallowed goal from Thursday, and one from Wednesday night against the Rangers?

“You hope not. You’re sitting there and you can’t help but ask that question,” Julien said. “But you hope not. These are situations where [Wednesday] night could have been an important goal for us. Tonight obviously a very important goal. And it’s unfortunate.

“We think we’ve got great technology, we’ve got everything going. But people who think we’re getting it right, I don’t necessarily agree to that because we’re obviously still not getting it right.”


Said Luongo, “At first when it happened, I didn’t think it was in and then obviously I saw the Jumbotron a couple times, so I wasn’t quite sure exactly what had happened there. But either way it was nice to get a break going your way there.”

Ultimately, that’s not the issue. The issue isn’t one disallowed goal, one inconclusive review that should have been conclusive. The issue for the Bruins is that that one goal was vitally needed in a game they needed to win.

Over their five-game losing streak, the Bruins have scored just six goals. They have gone from cold to frigid on the power play, where they have not scored in their last 13 chances. They have sometimes played without the commitment to win. They have not looked like a team that deserves to be playing past April 9.

That is what needs to change, and change quickly, for the Bruins, who now sit just one point ahead of Detroit, which has a game in hand, for third place in the Atlantic Division.

“There’s times where you go through a season where things just seem to be a little harder,” Julien said. “We’re definitely not scoring at the pace that we [were] and certainly not a good time for that to happen. At the same time, we’re certainly not getting any breaks that are going to help us either.”

The Bruins had come out buzzing, finally playing with pace in a first period. They couldn’t capitalize in the first, but they finally found the back of the net in the second with a Ryan Spooner goal at 7:42, the center’s first since March 3 after going without a goal for nine straight. He had been dropped from the top power-play unit to start the game.


But the Panthers notching the tying score at 13:51. Jussi Jokinen sent the puck across the top of the crease to Vincent Trocheck, who put it on net. The rebound was pushed through by former Bruin Reilly Smith, and it snuck past Tuukka Rask.

Near the end of the period, Trocheck made the Bruins pay for a poor decision by David Krejci. His risky pass on the power play yielded a breakaway that gave Florida the lead with 1:14 remaining in the second.

That was the game-winner, with the Bruins unable to put the puck into the net conclusively, and with add-on goals by Jokinen at 10:56 and Jonathan Huberdeau at 19:39 into an empty net.

“Bottom line, you have to find a way to score a goal, and we didn’t do that,” Bergeron said. “You can talk about that goal that they took away as much as you want, but at the same time it’s the rules and you have to find it within yourself to battle back and to get that goal.”