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Boston's Lucic hit with match penalty

by Shawn P. Roarke
BOSTON -- Boston forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty and was ejected from the Bruins' 5-1 victory over Montreal on Saturday night.

At 15:28 of the third period, Lucic and Montreal defenseman Mathieu Schneider shoved at each other with sticks, earning Schneider a minor for high-sticking and Lucic a minor for cross-checking. Montreal's Maxim Lapierre then became involved, and Lucic hit him in the face with his stick, earning a match penalty under Rule 60.4, which mandates the call when "a player or goaltender attempts to or deliberately injures an opponent while carrying or holding any part of his stick above the shoulders of the opponent."

Under NHL Rule 21.2, Lucic is suspended until a disciplinary hearing is held. The series resumes Monday night in Montreal.

Lucic was not available for comment Saturday night, but Boston coach Claude Julien came to his player's defense after the game.

Lucic "might have lost his composure a little bit," Julien said. "You have to remember that he got elbowed in the head and then high-sticked by Schneider and then Lapierre comes in and Lapierre has been an instigator throughout the whole series and even during the regular season -- and what Looch did is react to (Lapierre) coming at him.

"It wasn't premeditated and, in reviewing it, (Lucic) hit him with his glove. He had his stick in his hand but the glove hit the helmet. Had the stick hit him in the head, I think he would have been down, but Lapierre stayed up and kept coming at Looch. If there is one thing, I know it certainly wasn't premeditated."

Montreal coach Bob Gainey wasn't about to enter into a debate about Lucic's penalty. He has enough worries with his team trailing 2-0 in the best-of-7 series and struggling to develop any sustained offense while getting indifferent play out of goalie Carey Price, who was pulled after the second period.

"I'll just wait for the NHL to look at it," Gainey said. "I've got confidence they'll see it and they can judge from the situation."

Even the aggrieved Lapierre wasn't eagerly banging the drum for the hammer to fall on his tormentor.

"It's not my business to give someone a suspension," he said. "In the playoffs, you give some and you receive some. It was my turn. They have the video and they are going to take care of it."

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