Bang-up job done by Bruins over Stars
Hockey players have long memories. Last night at TD Garden, when Gregory Campbell lined up next to Steve Ott for the opening faceoff, revenge was on the Bruin forward’s mind.
After the 6-3 win over the Stars, Campbell played coy, a wise byproduct of being the league disciplinarian’s son. But even if Campbell wasn’t willing to discuss his intentions, his actions spoke for him.
On March 28, 2009, when Campbell was playing for Florida, Ott cleaned the unsuspecting center’s clock with a blindside wallop. Campbell, standing along the boards, had just gotten rid of the puck when Ott rammed him into the wall. Last season, Ott was suspended for Dallas’s only game against Florida.
So before last night’s game, after Dallas posted its starting threesome of Ott, Adam Burish, and Raymond Sawada, Bruins coach Claude Julien answered with his fourth line. Then Campbell, who takes just about every faceoff when he’s on the ice, switched places with Shawn Thornton to line up against Ott. One second into the game, with no puck drop to concern him, Campbell dropped the mitts with Ott.
“That’s what happens in hockey,’’ Campbell said. “Words were said. Things happen. There was really no forewarning or anything like that. It just happened.’’
The Dallas agitator got the better of Campbell. Early in the scrap, Ott opened up a cut on Campbell’s face that left the Bruin leaking blood. But while Campbell was undergoing repairs, his scrap triggered a barrage of fisticuffs — the Bruins worked the Stars over in the three fights that followed — that turned into a four-goal first-period explosion.
“When our team is emotionally and physically involved, we’re a very good team,’’ said Andrew Ference, one of the Bruins’ four pugilists. “We’ve proven that the other way around, too. When it’s not there, we lose games. We know that has to be there for us to be successful. So, it was good.’’
One second after Campbell’s fight, Thornton lined up against Krys Barch. According to Thornton, Barch asked to fight. Thornton, no doubt stirred up by Campbell’s fight and the post-scrap blood cleanup that was required, agreed and proceeded to pepper his opponent with a series of thunderous right crosses and uppercuts.
“Didn’t matter what happened there,’’ Thornton said of Campbell’s fight. “Soupy did a great job. When you’re getting punched in the face in a fight, that happens. I’ve fought Barchy a bunch of times. I’ve played with him. They put him out there on the ice for a reason. He asked and I obliged.’’
Two seconds later, Adam McQuaid and Brian Sutherby joined the fun. After some tangling, McQuaid saw an opening and clobbered Sutherby with a right fist to the chin.
“He just came out on the ice and we made eye contact,’’ McQuaid said. “We didn’t even say anything. We just kind of nodded and went from there.’’
After the three scraps in four seconds, the Bruins rallied around their fighters and turned their punches into goals. Thirty-five seconds into the game, after the No. 1 line gained a quick entry into the offensive zone, Milan Lucic beat Andrew Raycroft with a five-hole wrister. Less than a minute later, Brad Marchand faked a shot, then fed Patrice Bergeron in front for a tap-in past Raycroft. After only 80 seconds of play, Dallas coach Marc Crawford pulled Raycroft — the ex-Bruin couldn’t stop either shot he saw — and replaced him with Kari Lehtonen.
“He didn’t have a very good outing the last game, so we had a short leash on him and the first two shots go in,’’ Crawford said. “We just felt that it was time to make a change. He’s battled real well this year, and it’s unfortunate. You wish you didn’t have to do tough things to people. But I’m charged with those decisions and I thought it was the right decision.’’
At 3:51, after an offside whistle, Burish zinged a slapper on Tuukka Rask. Ference didn’t care for Burish’s bush-league decision and promptly shed his gloves. The fight concluded after Ference connected with a right to Burish’s face. Bergeron scored his second at 9:35, then Thornton closed the period with a slapper over Lehtonen’s glove arm to give the Bruins a 4-0 lead.
The Stars rallied for three straight goals. At 10:36 of the second, Karlis Skrastins whipped a shot through Johnny Boychuk that beat Rask. Forty-five seconds into the third, with Brad Richards serving a tripping penalty, Brenden Morrow winged a shorthanded shot through a Steven Kampfer screen that Rask couldn’t stop. At 3:33, Richards hummed a one-timer past Rask to make it 4-3 and prompt Julien to call his timeout.
“I’ve got to look at them,’’ Rask (30 saves) said of the goals. “Maybe I could have done something differently. But they made some nice plays there. We took the timeout and kind of regrouped, then responded again with a couple goals.’’
Tyler Seguin, who had netted only one goal in his last 14 games, gave the Bruins a 5-3 lead at 5:31. Following some hard-hat digging by Michael Ryder and Blake Wheeler, Seguin popped a one-timer past Lehtonen, who appeared surprised by the rookie’s shot. Marchand capped the win with an empty-netter at 17:40 after Bergeron shot the puck wide in search of his second career hat trick.
“I’m pretty sure the Bruins fans didn’t mind it,’’ Julien said of the first-period nastiness. “We can leave it at that.’’
Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.