Brad Marchand gets hurt by Sam Bennett adding gasoline to already fiery Panthers vs. Bruins series

BOSTON — After 2023 Hart Trophy finalists David Pastrnak and Matthew Tkachuk — punching each other's melons in a heated third-round climax in South Florida two nights ago, Brad Marchand looked like he tried to get the Florida Panthers Ki Ho' The best player to do so so soon after Friday night's opener is Alexander Barkov.

Charlie Coyle was the first to appear before the Panthers captain. Referee Dan O'Rourke first warned Coyle, then ejected him from the faceoff circle. Marchand, captain and star of the Boston Bruins, came to take the draw. But before doing so, he leaned towards Barkov twice and whispered in his ear.

As TNT's Darren Pang speculated, Marchand was relaying the old message to Barkov, “Wanna go? Go?”

“It seemed like Coyle did it first and then Marchand did it, but we need Barky on the ice,” Tkachuk explained. athletic, “He has been the best player for us all series. Heck, the entire playoffs. Absolutely beast. Why would he want to start a game sitting in the box for five minutes? We’ll take him to 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 desired effect for the Panthers in the process ending Marchand's night and who knows for the rest of the series. Is.

Bennett, making his return to Florida's lineup after taking a wrist shot from teammate Brandon Montour in Game 2 of the first round, made his presence felt early and often as the Panthers defeated the Bruins 6-2 , as Florida won 2–1. Advance in the second round.

Bennett beat Mason Lohrey in his first inning, passed Pastrnak's chest in the second inning and finished with seven hits as well as an assist on Vladimir Tarasenko's second-period power-play goal – part of a sequence in which the Panthers took a 1-0 lead. Scored goals on both halves of the double minor to take a 3-0 lead.

But Bennett's potentially weakest check from the Bruins' perspective was not even recorded as a hit on the official play-by-play of the game report.

Between Lohrei and Pastrnak checks, Bennett dumped the puck before Marchand came in the neutral zone. Marchand initiated contact, but got the worst of the collision, sending the yellow Dasher into the center ice. He was not looking good as he tried to collect himself on the bench and left the game for a short time. Marchand would return to play the remainder of the first period and second period before missing the third period.

“I think it's important not to dip your toe in,” Bennett said. “I want to be out there and play at full speed. This is my game. So I wasn't going to come in tonight and dip my toe in, and I think that's the only way to get through this.”

Game 2's 6–1 Florida win saw 12 third-period 10-minute misconducts assessed and 148 combined penalty minutes. One of the more humorous moments was when Montour mocked Marchand by moving his tongue so Marchand could lick Ryan Callahan. Due to this Marchand's gasket burst.

“It wasn't really planned. I saw his face there,” Montour said. “When I did it the first time, it was all fun. “I got a lot of messages with the licking emoji, but I think when (Marchand does that) you'll probably get jokes throughout his career.”

Series supervisor Kay Whitmore met with both coaches Friday morning and told them the game would be subject to investigation for extracurriculars that evening. In addition, Colin Campbell – the league office's No. 3, who originally runs the NHL's hockey operations department and situation room (video review) in Toronto – came to Boston for the game. While Campbell has no role in the NHL's player safety department, his role on this night would be specifically to watch warmups to make sure no one did anything stupid like the 1987 Philadelphia Flyers-Montreal Canadiens pregame brawl.

Teams were warned that if anything went wrong during the warm-up, there would be immediate consequences. Were not there.

Panthers coach Paul Morrissey said the league's message was not that both teams needed to tone it down.

“It was, 'This is being watched,' and rightfully so,” Morris said. “At the same time, it's also great. Like if you're a hockey fan, you're not missing Florida Panthers-Bruins games, right? Like it's on. “It seems like something can happen every shift.”

Tkachuk, who claims to be Public Enemy No. 1 in Boston in particular, said Morrissey didn't show up after the 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 13 points with Connor McDavid for the NHL playoff scoring lead. “This is not what we are trying to do. We are trying to work hard. Place it between the whistles. We don't want to talk to or see any of them after the whistle blows. If they want to play that way or want to do that, I mean, we're able to play that game too.

“But we don't want to play that game. We want to be between the whistles, play hard, create our own lines, use everyone up and come at people in waves.

And the Panthers have mostly done that in the last two games. Of course, things went haywire in the third period on Friday, when the Bruins scored two quick goals to cut a 4-2 deficit and then earned a power play. Had Sergei Bobrovsky not been forced to wake up from his game-long snooze (the Bruins recorded 16 shots in a game after taking 15), it would have been a very hairy ending for the Panthers.

Instead, they pulled out a four-goal victory largely due to four power-play goals and Bennett's return to the lineup, which allowed Morris to put all of his pieces back in their proper places.

Barkov, who had two assists and now has 12 points this postseason, skated with Tarasenko and Sam Reinhart. Carter Verhaeghe, who scored his 21st career playoff goal and ninth career playoff game-winning goal – both team records – skated with Bennett and Tkachuk. This allowed Maurice to reunite Eitu Luostarinen, Anton Lundell and Iván Rodríguez, who scored twice.

Morris believed that that third line was Florida's best.

“They were fantastic,” Morris said, adding it was all due to Bennett's comeback.

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

“He can adapt to the way we see it or the way we like to play,” Morris said.

Tkachuk added, “He is a very talented player and a very hard worker. Physical, gets involved on the forecheck, is strong on the puck. We definitely missed him when he was out. When he comes in, he's a huge boost for our team and our locker room. People are excited to have him back. And I thought he played great, had some big hits tonight, made some great plays. He touches every aspect of the game for us. We have guys who are physical, but I don't think anybody is as physical as Benny. He's not the biggest guy, but he plays big.”

Bennett said it was “atrocity” to miss the final three games of the Lightning series and the first two games of the Bruins series.

Remember, Bennett missed Game 1 in Boston last season, a game the Panthers lost. Including a comeback from a 3-1 loss against Boston last season, the Panthers have now won four consecutive playoff games in Boston with Bennett in the lineup.

Perhaps this is not a coincidence.

“I love playoff hockey,” Bennett said. “It's a little fast. It's more physical. Every game is a little more important. Because of how important the game is, you're able to go out there and put everything on the line. And I love that opportunity.”

Now we'll see if Bennett's return has an adverse impact on Marchand's ability to be in Boston's lineup on Sunday night and beyond.

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

“I don't know what they were discussing at the beginning,” Morris said. “This is not what Barki does for a living. …Everyone's got a job. It's not his.”

(Sam Bennett Photo: Fred Kefori III/Getty Images)

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