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Marchand incident looms over big win; Postgame Podcast

December 30, 2015, 8:26 AM ET [60 Comments]
Ty Anderson
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The Boston Bruins put an end to their three-game losing streak in style on Tuesday night.

Led by a seven-goal output (their highest total of the season), including a hat trick from Jimmy Hayes and a combined 110 minutes in penalties between the clubs, the Bruins straight-up whooped the Senators in a hateful second act of a pivotal home and home between the rivals.

“I like the fact that our group is really coming together and even though we lost the last three games -- one of them we had a good lead and the other two we played well enough to win -- so I think our group overall has played well in the last month and a half maybe two months now and we just got to keep growing and then keep learning from little things,” B’s coach Claude Julien said of the win. “We blew a lead against Buffalo you know so we had to learn that tonight coming in with a one goal lead in the third that we had to be better. So I like the way we reacted and to me it showed me that we learned something from that loss. So I think I’ve got a lot of young guys in our lineup that have to keep growing with experience and when you see things like that as a coach it's encouraging.”

An energetic, even start left the Bruins with a 3-2 lead through 40 minutes of play courtesy of goals from Hayes and power-play strikes from Patrice Bergeron and Matt Beleskey, while Ottawa’s markers came via Chris Neil and Mika Zibanejad.

It was an opening two periods of hockey that came with some nastiness and offense -- hardly a rarity when it comes to meetings within the Atlantic Division -- but nothing that seemed to bother either team. (Aside from Brad Marchand’s first period takeout of Ottawa defender Mark Borowiecki, which seemed to bother the internet more than the Sens, who did nothing to seek immediate retribution.)

But when the puck dropped on the third, everybody -- or close to it, anyways -- lost their head.

The Bruins extended their lead to two by way of Bergeron’s second power-play goal of the night following an illegal check to the head penalty against the Sens’ Mark Stone. Ottawa winger Matt Hoffman brought the club back within one after banking one off Dennis Seidenberg’s skate and in, but that would be the closest the Sens came to matching the B’s.

Hayes’ second pushed the Boston lead back to two, a second from Beleskey made it 6-3 and from there, it was brawling and message-sending time for Dave Cameron’s squad.

Landon Ferraro did his best to hang with Max McCormick in a spirited bout. Marchand speared Kyle Turris in the chest. Chris Neil made it his personal mission to search for Adam McQuaid, for reasons unbeknownst to just about everyone, for the final minute and a half of the game in search of a fight. And I think Boston agitator Zac Rinaldo actually killed Dave Dziurzynski in their fight in the corner.

“Those happen I think throughout the season,” Julien said of the end of game brawls. “I don’t know what started it, when I say why I mean Chris Neil was chasing McQuaid, I have no idea. Did something happen? I have no idea but you know then the rest happened so I don’t know. I really don’t and that’s just things that you want to see your team stick together and make sure you stick up for your teammates and that what we did tonight. Whether some people think it’s team building, it’s great for your group, to a certain extent it is but you don’t want to see that every game. It happened tonight and usually those things can happen on those home and away games with the same team.”

But the night didn’t end without yet another plus for the Black and Gold, as the club was able to find Hayes for his third goal of the night, for his first NHL hat trick, with just :00.2 left in the game.

In one game, the 6-foot-6 Hayes, who came into last night’s tilt with just one goal in his last 21 games played, bumped his season goal total up to eight, and looked more like the Hayes that the B’s were willing to give up on Reilly Smith for via trade this past July.

“Twenty goals in the NHL is a tough feat. I had 19 last year, but like you said it’s a new year every year and you got to find your stride. The last couple of weeks I wasn’t putting many pucks in the net,” Hayes admitted after the win. “Hopefully I can continue this momentum and put some more pucks in the net. It’s not all about numbers I need to contribute and be a presence on the ice and be effective, no matter if I’m scoring. We got guys on this team that are pure goal scorers that’ll do a lot of scoring, but you always want to contribute and be a guy that can chip in. I can do it in this league, I’ve done it before, I want to continue to show the coach and my teammates that I can do it as well.”

Random thoughts and notes

- So, the word on Brad Marchand. Let’s talk about that hit for just a moment. When I watched this play versus the hit by itself -- because that’s honestly what you need to do in order to properly assess everything that’s happening at that very moment -- I walked away from it with the belief that Marchand is turning to make a move on the puck-carrier. Now, at the same time, I watch it and see his submarining of Borowiecki and say, ‘Hm, you probably, definitely didn’t need to do that.’

“It was a simple play,” Marchand said of the hit. “I mean, I was trying to get to the puck carrier, and I turned up ice, and he was kind of standing there. I just turned up and tried to go to the puck carrier.”

Maybe this is as innocent as Marchand claims. Maybe. But with three suspensions to his name in his NHL career -- including a five-game ban for clipping Sami Salo in Jan. 2012 and his latest one (a two-game ban) coming for a Jan. 2015 slewfoot on the Rangers’ Derick Brassard -- No. 63 has a reputation. And it’s one that -- right or wrong, fair or unfair -- has been earned.

I don’t think it help that Marchand’s night essentially ended with a spear to Ottawa’s Kyle Turris, and if you’re the NHL, aren’t you almost like ‘Hey, we’re doing everything we can not to suspend you for the Winter Classic, but you’re making it real hard not to’?

Marchand pushes the line. And sometimes he crosses it. Just ask anybody on the Sens.

“You can describe it in a lot of ways that I am not going to share with you,” Turris, involved in an accident with No. 63 in the third, said when asked how he would describe Marchand’s style of play.

Point blank, do I think Marchand will be suspended? No. I just think that the NHL -- again, right or wrong -- looks at the Winter Classic as a major event and would like to see the game’s top stars play in it. The Canadiens are already without Brendan Gallagher and Carey Price due to injuries. The Bruins do not have Krejci. Taking Marchand out via suspension weakens that game and the allure it has come Jan. 1. And that of course would shine a light on the flaws within the disciplinary process itself, but still, I can’t help but feel as if they look at this much like doling out a suspension in a playoff game.

- The Bruins, losers of three straight, needed this win before the 2016 Winter Classic on Friday. I understand the emphasis from the B’s that Friday’s tilt against the Montreal Canadiens is ‘just another game on the schedule’, but can we be honest for just a minute and admit that it’s not? After all I think this is the only game of 82 in front of 68,000 and where flames surround you as you make your way towards the rink at midfield. But maybe I’m wrong about that, so who knows? It’s a circus, really.

But the need for a victory goes well beyond snapping the three-game losing streak. It’s about the style in which the B’s won. With David Krejci (upper-body) placed on injured reserve and considered ‘week-to-week’, it’s an all hands on deck sort of vibe for the Bruins. They need everybody -- new guys and veteran leaders alike -- to step up and help play a larger role for the club. And they got that.

“Guys got to step up, I thought Spoons did a great job today. He played solid in our zone and obviously had a few assists on the power play, that’s what we’re going to need every night,” Beleskey said. “We are going to need guys to step up and tonight was a good game by our team.”

Postgame Podcast: On Hayes’ hat trick, the Winter Classic, and more

The New England Hockey Journal’s Andy Merritt and I sat down for yet another ‘Podcast to be Named Later’ live from the TD Garden following last night’s victory over the Sens. Take a listen.

Up next

It’s time for the 2016 Bridgestone Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium between the Bruins and Canadiens. This will be Boston’s second Winter Classic -- they won the first one by a 2-1 overtime final against the Philadelphia Flyers at Fenway Park in 2010 -- and the fourth head-to-head between the Bruins and Habs in 2015-16, with Montreal winning the first two of the three. Bring some handwarmers.
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