BOSTON -- Perhaps this is Brad Marchand's variation of the Gordie Howe hat trick: one goal, one fight, one WWE-style fireman’s carry.
With a 4-0 Bruins lead late in the third period of Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals at TD Garden, things got a little chippy, as they had in the previous three games. To nobody’s surprise, the mouthy energy-liner was right in the thick of it.
With three and a half minutes to go, he skirted Christian Ehrhoff along the boards trying to maintain control of the puck, before parking in the corner, where a charging Daniel Sedin came running down. Marchand ducked and flipped Sedin over his back. Keith Ballard confronted Marchand behind the net, and the two exchanged jabs before Ballard lost his balance.
“I was trying to get to the puck, and Ehrhoff tried to hit me, and I just jumped around him,” Marchand said. “I accidentally clipped him, and then Sedin took a run at me, so there’s nothing I really should have done differently there. And then, Ballard came at me, so I was just trying to defend myself. I’m not gonna let guys run at me. That’s just how it goes.”
Marchand had been getting under the skin of Canucks players all night, particularly Sedin. Marchand bumped and poked Sedin several times during the game as they squared up on the wing on faceoffs. And in the waning minutes, Vancouver had seen enough.
“He plays with a bit of an edge and I mean it’s good to see that when he felt that he had to back it up he wasn’t afraid to get his gloves off,” forward Shawn Thornton said. “Obviously it wasn’t much of a tilt, but he was standing there willing to see what was going to happen. But I like his character and I’m glad that he is on our team.”
“I’m sure the fans got a kick out of it, or they seemed to,” he added.
Adam McQuaid quickly came to Marchand’s defense, planting himself right in the middle of the scrum. Ballard was assessed a roughing minor, McQuaid was giving a game misconduct, and Marchand was assessed three minors -- roughing, holding and tripping -- for a total of 18 penalty minutes.
“They did it [bumped his stick] a couple of times on the power play in the first period also,’’ Thomas said after the game. ``I don't know who it was, I was focused on the puck. That was like the third time that he'd hit my butt end on that power play. We were up 4-0, the game was getting down toward the end, so I thought I'd give him a little love tap and let him know, `I know what you're doing, but I'm not going to let you do it forever.’ So that's all that was. It was a typical battle.’’
After Thomas slashed Burrows’ stick, Dennis Seidenberg took him to the ice before he could retaliate.
That prompted Zdeno Chara to get in on the fun; he was assessed a two-minute roughing minor and 10-minute game misconduct, to go with Thomas’ two-minute slashing call. On the Vancouver side, Burrows was given two minutes for cross checking, while Ryan Kesler was assessed a roughing minor as well as a game misconduct.
Asked if he thinks it bothers Thomas that perhaps the Canucks are trying to mess with his head, Seidenberg said, “No not at all. I think he enjoys it. He loves to battle and loves a confrontation and loves the physical players as you saw the last couple games. So I don’t think it bothers him for the most part I guess.”