May 19, 2024

Brighton Journal

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Brad Marchand was hurt as Sam Bennett added gasoline to an already fiery Panthers vs. Bruins series

Brad Marchand was hurt as Sam Bennett added gasoline to an already fiery Panthers vs. Bruins series

BOSTON — After David Pastrnak and Matthew Tkachuk — two 2023 Hart Trophy finalists — threw fists at each other’s melons two nights ago in the midst of a heated third period in South Florida, Brad Marchand looked like he was trying to get the better of the Florida Panthers. MVP, Aleksander Barkov, was set to do the same straight from Friday night’s opener.

Charlie Coyle got into the Panthers captain’s face first. Referee Dan O’Rourke first reprimanded Coyle, then ejected him from the faceoff circle. Marchand, captain and star of the Boston Bruins, came in to take the toss. But before he did so, he twice leaned over to Barkov and whispered in his ear.

As TNT’s Darren Pang speculated, Marchand was giving Barkov the old line, “Do you want to go? Do you want to go?”

“It looks like Coyle did it first and then Marchand did it, but we need Parky on the ice,” Tkachuk said. The athlete. “He was the MVP of the whole series for us. Heck, the entire playoffs. Absolute monster. Why would he want to start the game sitting in the box for five minutes? We’ll take him on the ice.”

While Marchand was undoubtedly trying to drag the Bruins into the fight, in the end, it was Sam Bennett who had the same intended effect on the Panthers, in the process ending Marchand’s night and who knows about the rest of the series.

Bennett, who returned to Florida’s lineup after taking teammate Brandon Montour’s wrist shot in Game 2 of the first round, made his presence felt early and often during the Panthers’ 6-2 shellacking of the Bruins as Florida won 2-1. Edge in the second round.

Bennett pinned Mason Lohry in his first shift, ran past Pastrnak’s chest in his second shift and finished with seven hits plus an assist on Vladimir Tarasenko’s goal in the second period — part of a sequence in which the Panthers took a 1-0 lead in a 3-0 strangle by scoring in both halves of the minor. Dual.

But Bennett’s most debilitating check from the Bruins’ perspective didn’t even register as a success on the official play of the game report.

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Between checks on Lohry and Pastrnak, Bennett dumped the puck before meeting up with Marchand in the neutral zone. Marchand initiated contact but took the worst of the collision, sliding hard into the yellow circle at center ice. He didn’t look good as he tried to collect himself on the bench and left the game briefly. Marchand would return to play the remainder of the first and entire second period before missing the third period.

“I think it’s important not to dip your toe,” Bennett said. “I want to be out there and play as fast as I can. That’s kind of my game. So I didn’t want to come in and dip my toe tonight, and I think that’s the only way to approach it.”

Florida’s 6-1 win in Game 2 saw 12 misconducts assessed in the 10-minute third period and 148 penalty minutes combined. One of the more comedic moments was when Montour mocked Marchand by wagging his tongue to impersonate Marchand licking Ryan Callahan. This caused Marchand to blow the gasket.

“It wasn’t really planned. I saw his face there,” Montour said. “When I first did it, everything was funny. I get a lot of text messages with lick emojis, but I think when (Marchand) does those things, you kind of have to accept the joke for probably the rest of his career.

Series supervisor Kay Whitmore met with both coaches Friday morning to let them know the game would be under scrutiny by extracurriculars later in the evening. Furthermore, Colin Campbell — the league’s No. 3 office, which essentially runs the NHL’s hockey operations department and operating room (video reviews) in Toronto — came to Boston for the game. Although Campbell has no role in the NHL’s player safety department, his role tonight will be to privately monitor warmups to make sure no one does anything stupid to spark something like a pregame brawl between the Philadelphia Flyers and Montreal Canadiens in 1987. .

Teams have been warned that there will be immediate repercussions if there is shenanigans during warm-ups. She wasn’t there.

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Panthers coach Paul Morris said the league’s message wasn’t that the two teams needed to tone it down.

“It was like, ‘She’s on probation,’ which is true,” Morris said. “And at the same time, he’s pretty good too. Like if you’re a hockey fan, you wouldn’t miss Florida Panthers-Bruins games, right? Like he’s on. It’s like something could happen every shift.”

Tkachuk, who thrives on being Public Enemy No. 1, especially in Boston, said Morris didn’t come after his meeting with the NHL to tell his players to keep things clean.

“It’s because we know better,” said Tkachuk, who had three assists to tie him with Connor McDavid for the NHL scoring lead, with 13 points. “That’s not what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to play hard. Keep it between the whistles. We don’t want to talk or look at any of them after the whistle. If they want to play that way or do that, I mean we’re more than capable of playing that game.” also.

“But we don’t want to play that game. We want to stay between the sirens, play aggressively, form our lines, use everyone, attack people in waves.

The Panthers have mostly done that in the past two games. Things sure got ugly in the third period on Friday, when the Bruins scored two quick goals to fall behind 4-2 and then got on a power play. Had Sergei Bobrovsky not been forced to wake up from his long nap (the Bruins scored 16 shots in one game after taking 15), it could have been a very tough finish for the Panthers.

Instead, they cruised to a four-goal win in large part thanks to four power-play goals and Bennett’s return to the lineup, allowing Morris to put all of his pieces back in their rightful places.

Barkov, who had two assists and now has 12 points in the postseason, skated with Tarasenko and Sam Reinhart. Carter Verhaeghe, who scored his 21st career playoff goal and ninth career playoff-winning goal — both team records — skated with Bennett and Tkachuk. This allowed Morris to reunite Eto’o Luostarinen, Anton Lundell and Ivan Rodriguez, who scored twice.

Morris felt that this third line was Florida’s best.

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“They were great,” Morris said, noting it was all because Bennett was back.

Then you add what Bennett does individually to the lineup. Morris says Bennett plays with a “typical Florida Panther identity.”

“The way we look at it or the way we like to play, he probably embodies that,” Morris said.

Tkachuk added: “He’s a talented player and works hard. Physically, he gets in front, strong on the pucks. We definitely missed him when he was out. When he comes in he’s a big boost to our team and our locker room. Guys are lifted up to have him back. I think he played great.” “He had some big plays tonight, he made some great plays. He kind of touches every aspect of the game for us. We have guys who are physical, but I don’t think anyone is as physical as Benny. He’s not the biggest player, but he plays with a body.” very big.”

Bennett said missing the final three games of the Lightning series and the first two games of the Bruins series was “torture.”

Remember, Bennett missed the first game in Boston last season, a game the Panthers lost. Including coming back from a 3-1 deficit against Boston last season, the Panthers have now won four straight playoff games in Boston with Bennett in the lineup.

Maybe this is no coincidence.

“I love playoff hockey,” Bennett said. “It’s a little faster. It’s more physical. Every play is a little more important. You can go out there and put it all on the line because of how important the game is. And I love that opportunity.”

We’ll now see if Bennett’s return negatively impacts Marchand’s ability to be in Boston’s lineup Sunday night and beyond.

Remember, had Barkov accepted that invitation to fight Marchand, Marchand would also have been in the box, instead of being checked by Bennett and injured four minutes later.

“I don’t know what they were discussing at first,” Morris said. “This is not what Parky does for a living. … Everybody has a job. It’s not his.”

(Sam Bennett Photo: Farid Kfoury III/Getty Images)