There weren't too many bright spots for the Bruins during Thursday night's 2-1 loss to the Canadiens, but for the fans in TD Garden and the faithful following on NESN and The Sports Hub, Brad Marchand
's fight with P.K. Subban topped the highlights.
"Well, I know Marshy pretty well and it’s just a matter of us both being frustrated out there and that’s how you settle your differences," said Subban from the winning locker room. "I mean, we were kind of laughing about it after,
"We gave each other a pat on the pads; I don’t think there’s any true animosity between us two. But like I said, we have quite the past, winning a gold medal together [in the World Junior Tourney].
"But it’s a game, you know, that’s what the fans want, that’s what both teams want, it’s energy out there, it’s fun," he said.
That's easy to say for Subban, whose club defeated the Philadelphia Flyers and the Montreal Canadiens on consecutive evenings and knocked the Black & Gold down to the Eastern Conference basement, but a somber-looking Marchand sounded like he was in agreement.
"Guys are friends all the time off the ice, but on the ice, they're on the other team and you're going to have to take runs at them and do what you have to do to win," said the B's wing. "That’s all it is."
The pair tried to square off twice before officials let the bell ring on the bout at 17:55 of the second period.
"It all started off the draw," said Marchand, who (according to Hockeyfights.com) usually drops the gloves about once a season. "He kind of gave me a little shot with his elbow and then I grabbed him and he grabbed me.
"And I thought he wanted to go then so I dropped my gloves. But when we were in the box he asked me to go and I said no. And then back in the second time he asked me again, and I couldn’t say no.
"So it was nice to get it out of the way," added Marchand.
Subban, who (according to Hockeyfights.com) actually fights a little more often, admitted his several swings and misses were not surprising.
"I’m not a very good fighter, so, I guess you could say I was going for the knockout, but it was a pretty bad attempt," he said. "So I don’t know. I’m probably better to keep my gloves on most of the time."
Marchand, who is listed at 5-foot-9 and 183-pounds, looked pretty good against the bigger Subban (6-foot, 203) and landed several punches which got the fans to their feet. But Marchand was more interested in the energy that the B's might garner from his work.
"We both like to aggravate the opponent," explained Marchand of he and Subban. "And he just kind of gave me a shot, and that stuff happens.
"We’re both out there, we’re both emotional guys. And in a game like this we want to get our teams going and that’s the way to do it."
Although both coaches seemed reluctant to comment, Marchand's teammates appreciated the effort.
"Yeah, it was good," said alternate captain Patrice Bergeron. "I mean, that's the type of guy he is; he's not going to back down in front of anyone and it took him a while to finally get it but once he did he did a good job and gave us a little spark."
Unfortunately, that spark didn't ignite much in the way of offense.
"I think we’re getting opportunities, we’re just not burying them," said Marchand. "We had a lot of good chances tonight, and we either missed or hit a couple posts.
"So we just have to bear down."
Marchand also hopes the B's get to a point where they don't need extracurricular activities to create momentum.
"Yeah definitely. We want to be able to carry the game with our play, and that’s what we did so well last year," said the Nova Scotia-native. "Someone had a good shift and we were able to follow it up and continue building on that. And we just haven’t found a way to do that this year.
"It just seems that guys are trying to step up to create momentum and energy. And we have to find a way to get it elsewhere.
"I just think we need to focus a little more when we get around the net and doing our jobs," added Marchand who has 2-2-4 totals through nine games. "We seem to slack in different areas and we kind of just have to get back to basics and work up from there."