BOSTON – A Stanley Cup playoff series doesn’t really feel like it’s gotten going until things get nasty on the ice, and that absolutely happened for the Boston Bruins and the Florida Panthers on Wednesday night.
Much of the nastiness transpired at the end of Florida’s 6-3 win over the Boston Bruins at TD Garden during a third period when Florida scored four goals to pull away from the Black and Gold. There were several events that seemed to really spark things, but the biggest was a Tomas Nosek hit on Eric Staal in the corner that the Panthers veteran center thought was too high on him.
Obviously Nosek isn’t known for that kind of stuff, but it started a lot of chirping between Nosek and Matthew Tkachuk between the benches, and then with Staal as he came off the ice as it was all caught by an ESPN hot mic.
Tomas Nosek and multiple Panthers players exchange pleasantries after a hit to the head behind the play goes unnoticed pic.twitter.com/F2w4Nu0ySn
— Gino Hard (@GinoHard_) April 20, 2023
But the real ugliness came in the final two minutes as Radko Gudas, Nick Foligno and Garnet Hathaway were all slapped with game misconducts late in the third period, and then came some real ugliness between Ryan Lomberg and Trent Frederic with just three seconds to go in the game. Frederic and Lomberg tangled while throwing punches with their gloves on, Frederic took down the 5-foot-9 Panthers forward and then Lomberg reversed their position while down on the ice before reportedly throwing the 6-foot-2 Frederic into a choke hold.
Ryan Lomberg rocketing up the Boston Bruins enemy charts after trying to choke out Trent Frederic at the end of Game 2 last night. I’d say the bear has been poked pic.twitter.com/CJEo63Z4so
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) April 20, 2023
The video shows Frederic kicking his legs wildly while linesmen Kyle Flemington flails around trying to separate the two combatants.
Both players were hit with 10-minute misconducts and similarly tossed from the game in the closing seconds. That finished Lomberg’s evening with a cross-checking and slashing penalty along with the choke hold on the ice, so suffice it to say his status as a villain to Boston Bruins fans is growing rather quickly.
Those that saw Frederic headed down the runway said that he was screaming furiously and had to be restrained from going after Lomberg even after the refs melted the final three seconds off the clock to quickly end a playoff hockey game that had spiraled out of control.
Trent Frederic was fuming heading to the dressing room, screaming, presumably at Ryan Lomberg for attempting to choke him while the two were on the ice. Had to be restrained.
— John Zannis (@John_Zannis) April 20, 2023
It wasn’t something the Boston Bruins were too interested in talking about afterward, but one can be sure they will be ready to answer physically in a pivotal Game 3 in Florida on Friday night.
“The game is over. Emotions are done. Sometimes that happens in the playoffs when the game starts getting away from you. The next game will not be dictated by anything from tonight,” said Brad Marchand. “Every play will be different, and the emotions will be different. The game is over and we need to worry about the next one.”
Regardless of how it plays out, Game 3 in Florida is going to be very, very interesting on Friday night.