BOSTON — Charlie McAvoy was chasing the puck behind his own goal, collecting it on the backhand, going right-to-left looking to clear the zone.

Nikita Kucherov saw that as an opportunity to haul down the Boston defenseman, freeing the puck. It squirted out to his teammate, J.T. Miller, along the far wall, who flung a pass into the slot for marksman Steven Stamkos.

Tie game. With seven minutes and change to go.

It was a sequence in Game 4 on Friday night that essentially killed the momentum that the Bruins had built up over the previous 37 or so minutes while grabbing a one-goal lead in a game they desperately needed to win – and ultimately sent it to overtime.

It took Tampa Bay just 3 minutes and 18 seconds of OT to win it and take a 3-1 series lead.

“We had the lead, it was a very blatant grab on Chucky’s shoulder and turned into a goal,” said Bruins left wing Brad Marchand. “The missed calls are costing (us) goals in games, it’s unfortunate they can’t get it right. So hopefully they can fix that.”

Boston forward Rick Nash, asked about the play in question, said “It’s probably a better question for the officials … it looked clear from where I was.” He went on to say “it’s terrible that it comes down to a play like that. But that’s the game, and officials are part of the game. Sometimes things go your way and sometimes they don’t.”

The NHL has told Marchand to stop licking opponents.

Senior vice president of hockey operations Colin Campbell spoke to Marchand and Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney on Saturday about Marchand’s actions in Game 4. Marchand licked Lightning forward Ryan Callahan on the face after appearing to do the same to Toronto’s Leo Komarov earlier in the playoffs.

The league says Marchand has been put on notice that similar behavior in the future will be dealt with through supplemental discipline. He could be fined or suspended by the NHL if he continues to lick players.

After the game, Marchand said Callahan punched him in the face four times.

“He just kept getting close,” Marchand said. “Nothing big.”

Told that Callahan compared licking to spitting and said it should be penalized accordingly, Marchand said: “That’s cute. Good for him.”

Bruins Coach Bruce Cassidy said Torey Krug will miss Game 5 at Tampa Bay on Sunday after the defenseman sustained a lower-body injury sliding feet-first into the boards in Game 4. Cassidy said Nick Holden will enter the lineup.


CAPITALS 6, PENGUINS 3: Jakub Vrana scored the go-ahead goal with 4:38 remaining, Braden Holtby made 35 saves and host Washington beat Pittsburgh in Game 5 to take a 3-2 lead in their second-round series and put the back-to-back defending Stanley Cup champions on the brink of elimination.

Vrana made Coach Barry Trotz look like a genius for moving him to the top line alongside Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov, replacing Devante Smith-Pelly in the second period. Vrana sprung Kuznetsov for a breakaway on Washington’s tying goal 52 seconds into the third and finished off Ovechkin’s pass for the winner.

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