BOSTON – About the only thing that could slow down the Bruins’ scalding hot Perfection Line (Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak) is injuries or a suspension, and they may have to deal with one of those in the short term.
The NHL Department of Player Safety is reviewing a Brad Marchand elbow to the head of Marcus Johansson in the third period of Tuesday night’s 3-2 win over the New Jersey Devils, per a source.
There was no penalty called on the play as both Johansson and Marchand converged on the net just as the B’s left winger was firing a shot, but replays showed that Marchand caught the Devils forward with an elbow to the side of the head just as he was hurtling down to the ice. Johansson was down for an extended period and had to be helped back to the New Jersey dressing room following the play, and he didn’t return to the game after the incident with Marchand.
Perhaps Marchand had his elbows raised in self-defense as he felt a Devils player approaching him from behind or he was simply trying to avoid crashing into the Devils goalie, but the replay showed clear, hard contact to the side of Johansson’s head.
The Bruins winger said after the game that he wasn’t sure exactly what happened, but hoped that Johansson was going to be okay after going down.
“What happened? I don’t know; he got hurt. I don’t know what happened…I have no idea what Happened,” said Marchand, who finished with a goal and two points in 20:06 of ice time. “I took a shot and I tumbled down and he was hurt. So I don’t know what happened there, but hopefully he’s okay.”
Marchand has gotten off pretty easily in a couple of instances when he’s been in the crosshairs of player safety recently with a $10,000 fine last year on a tripping play with Niklas Kronwall, and no supplemental discipline on a high hit on John Tavares that earned him a five minute major penalty. Marchand was suspended just ahead of the playoffs last season for a spearing incident with Jake Dotchin, but he’d managed to avoid any further trouble with the long arm of the NHL law thus far this year.
But his past history with the league’s disciplinarians isn’t going to work in his favor as Marchand has been fined or suspended seven previous times, so by all accounts he’s viewed as a repeat offender by the NHL.