Panthers Bruins Hockey

Florida’s Sam Bennett checks Brad Marchand during Game 3 of their second-round playoff series Friday in Boston. Marchand was injured on the play and is unavailable for Game 4 on Sunday night, ending a streak of 156 consecutive playoff games for the Bruins captain. Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

Since he made his mark in the NHL as a fiery agitator in the 2010-11 playoffs, Brad Marchand had never missed a postseason game, showing up for 156 in a row.

Tha’s a feat in and of itself, considering how many opposing players have wanted a piece of him.

But when the Bruins line up for Game 4 of their second-round series against the Florida Panthers on Sunday night, Marchand, the franchise’s all-time leader in playoff goals, won’t be able to suit up. He was ruled out by Sunday morning by Coach Jim Montgomery because of an upper-body injury sustained in Game 3.

Montgomery would not say whether the Bruins captain had suffered a concussion, though that was certainly the implication after he was wobbled on a sneaky punch by Sam Bennett in the first period of Florida’s 6–2 win in Game 3. Bennett escaped any supplemental discipline from the league.

Bennett also escaped any retribution from the Bruins. As he usually does, Montgomery took the blame for that.

“I feel that that’s my fault that we didn’t retaliate to some degree,” said Montgomery. “But you’re trying to get back in the game and it’s 1-0 until they get the four-minute power play (that led to two goals late in the second period), then we score right away in the third period and now we’ve got juices going. So there’s reasons why we didn’t. But again, I think there’s something that I personally take responsibility for that.”


Asked how Marchand was doing, Montgomery said, “Brad’s in the team meetings. He’s doing well. It’s day-to-day.”

Montgomery parsed his words carefully, but he made it clear his didn’t like the Bennett punch when he was asked about it again on Sunday morning.

“I don’t think I classified it as dirty (on Saturday). I just thought it was outside the lines. I think it was someone who plays the game on the edge and he knew what he was doing. I don’t know if you’ve seen the picture from behind, but clearly he loaded up,” said Montgomery.

Part of the problem with the lack of in-game response was that Bennett was so good at concealing his punch. Trent Frederic said that he didn’t know exactly what happened on the play until after the game was over.

“During the game, it was kind of hard to know it was a dirty hit,” said Frederic. “I don’t think we all knew how bad it was. I think guys have now seen the replay slowed down and seen what he did. At the time, I don’t think we knew how bad it was.”

The Bruins may have been slow to boil, but Frederic said the team is not happy about the incident.


“I think it pissed off everyone,” said Frederic. “I think this whole team (Florida) kind of ticks everyone off, to be honest. There’s some individuals that maybe get guys more frustrated or mad. But there may be frustration, but you’ve still got to go out and do the job. We’re still down 2-1 and we want to make 2-2.”

To his point, exacting vengeance in the playoffs is a lot harder than it is in the regular season, especially when you consider the Florida power play torched the Bruins for four goals in the Game 3.

“There could be a time in the game where (retribution) could happen. That’s something that might be addressed. It’s just that it’s a 2-1 series. We have to be smart, too. We’ve given them a lot of power plays already. We have to limit that,” said Frederic.

“It’s a real fine line. I’m sure all these refs are aware of what happened the last three games and the last game … In a great world, we could just go do something about it and go eyeball to eyeball, but sometimes that’s not exactly how it works.”

Pavel Zacha said the Bruins need to make life hard on Florida’s best players.

“It was not a good hit, but I think we really have to go after their top guys and let them know that’s not OK. That’s something to go after our captain. That’s not OK with us, and we’re ready to be physical again and be a little harder on them,” said Zacha.


Regardless of how they plan to respond, the Bruins are going into an important playoff game without their captain – their inspirational leader and a very good player.

“It’s not going to be one guy, it’s got to be all of us as a group,” Frederic said of how to replace Marchand.

It would not be unprecedented for the loss of a key player to have a galvanizing effect on the rest of the team, at least in the short term.

Said Montgomery: “It can be, it has been, it should be tonight, with who our captain is.”

THE BRUINS went into Game 4 needing more from Zacha. He had one shot on net in the previous two games and he has yet to score a goal in 22 postseason games in his career. He also had a bad giveaway that led to Florida’s first goal in Game 3.

In Saturday’s practice, Montgomery had him centering a line with James van Riemsdyk and Justin Brazeau.


“I think Pav in Game 7 (against Toronto) played really well for us and I think he needs that attitude,” said Montgomery. “And also, we’ve moved him to third-line center, just for tonight, because I think it helps … with situational matchups.”

Zacha, who has played most of the year with David Pastrnak, was on board with the switch.

“We had a good conversation with Monty about where I’m going to be and I thnk it’s great for me be at center. We need every line going and it’s a great opportunity to hep the team,” said Zacha, who had ceded the center responsibilities to Morgan Geekie.

His assessment of his own play?

“The first two games in Florida were good and the last wasn’t good enough for where I would have wanted to play,” said Zacha. “That’s something where you play one game at a time, and I’m excited to show again that I can be a difference maker again in a game and help the team.”

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