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Zacha Says Bruins Must Go After Panthers’ ‘Top Guys’

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After learning that they would have to play Game 4 against the Florida Panthers without their captain, Brad Marchand, the Boston Bruins were talking about revenge.

“I think we have to really go after their top guys,” Bruins forward Pavel Zacha said after an optional skate on Sunday morning. “To let them know it’s not OK. To go after our captain; that’s not OK with us. We’re ready to be physical again today and be a little bit harder on them.”

Boston Bruins forward Trent Frederic echoed that sentiment and let it be known how the Panthers’ style of play makes the Bruins feel.

“I think it pissed off everyone. I think that whole team kind of ticks everyone off, to be honest,” Frederic said.

Earlier on Sunday, Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery confirmed to the media on Sunday morning that Marchand will not play in Game 4. That means that the Bruins will have to try and tie this Eastern Conference semifinal series at two games apiece without their emotional leader and sparkplug. They will also be without their team leader in assists and points, as Marchand has seven helpers to go along with three goals in the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Marchand was injured early in the first period of his team’s 6-2 loss on Friday night. After realizing he was about to be the recipient of a reverse hit from Florida Panthers forward Sam Bennett, Marchand braced for impact and got the worst of it. The 5-foot-9, 176-pound Bruins winger appeared to take the butt-end of Bennett’s stick as the 6-foot-1, 195-pound Panthers center followed through on the hit. He fell to the ice hard and, thankfully, in front of the Bruins’ bench because he was shaken up and needed help to get to the bench.

 

 

Brad Marchand missed a couple of shifts but returned and tried to battle through whatever the injury was that he suffered in the collision with Bennett. After playing 10:51, 15 shifts, and registering four hits but no points, Marchand was done after two periods of play. He did not practice on Saturday.

Montgomery let it be known on Saturday that he believed Bennett made a dirty play on Marchand.

“In real-time, my eyes weren’t on there as the puck had left that area,” Montgomery told reporters after his captain missed practice on Saturday. “But having seen it, there’s a history there with Bennett. Hard player, but there’s clearly evidence of what went on. People can say it wasn’t intentional, but we have our view of it.”

On Sunday, Montgomery took the blame for not urging his players to retaliate for what he is now terming as an ‘out of line’ play by Bennett.

“I feel that that’s my fault that we didn’t retaliate to some degree, but you’re trying to get back in a game,” Montgomery explained. “So there’s reasons why we didn’t, but again, I think there’s something that I personally take responsibility for.”

As Frederic pointed out, though, most Bruins players weren’t aware of the sucker punch Bennett delivered at the end of the reverse hit on Marchand.

“I think guys have now seen a replay. It slowed down and kind of see what he did at the time. I don’t know if we knew how bad it was and I guess now we do,” the Bruins rugged forward said.

Now that they do know, will they heed Zacha’s advice?

“I’m sure all these refs are aware of what happened in the last three games and what happened last game,” Frederic said. “In a perfect world, where we can just go do something about it, and it’s an eyeball for an eyeball. Sometimes it’s not exactly how it works, and you just got to find your spot.”

 

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