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Lucic and Gaustad come out fighting

Gaustad and Lucic do battle at 1:23

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By Kevin Paul Dupont
Globe Staff / November 24, 2011
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BUFFALO - It didn’t take long for Milan Lucic to be engaged in the fight he knew awaited him. With 1:23 gone in the first period, straight out of a puck drop to the left of Boston goalie Tim Thomas, Lucic and Sabres winger Paul Gaustad dropped gloves and tossed helmets to engage in the sweet science of revenge.

The fight was rather tame and Lucic got the best of it, dodging a couple of stiff righthand uppercuts, then landing some heavy shots to Gaustad’s head. After some 35-40 seconds, the fight was over, with Gaustad down on his knees.

“Obviously, you want to stick up for yourself,’’ said Lucic, who said the day before he figured someone in Buffalo blue would take him on for his hit Nov. 12 on Sabres netminder Ryan Miller. “I wasn’t going to shy away from it.’’

Lucic only took the ice for his first shift at 1:21, after a whistle to stop play. The sellout crowd at First Niagara Center gave Lucic a sound booing as soon as he rolled over the boards, but those boos segued immediately to cheers when Sabres coach Lindy Ruff ordered Gaustad off the Buffalo bench to line up against the feared Lucic.

When the bout was over, both combatants reported directly to the penalty boxes to serve the perfunctory five-minute major penalties. When the penalties expired at 6:23, Lucic and Gaustad skated out of the boxes without incident.

All in all, far more hype than hurt, which is often the case when there is such a protracted build-up. Lucic picked up a minor penalty later in the first for roughing (a chintzy call) and Gaustad behaved the rest of the night. Lucic had one assist for the night. Gaustad didn’t factor in the scoresheet.

Composed throughout the fight, Lucic never seemed to move off a simmer throughout the bout, seeming to serve up his shots out of sheer duty.

“It was my first shift, you know,’’ he said. “It’s kinda tough to get angry.’’

Somebody’s watching

NHL senior vice president Brendan Shanahan, the head of player safety, reached out to Boston general manager Peter Chiarelli and Buffalo GM Darcy Regier prior to last night’s game, reminding them the league would keep a close eye on the clubs last night, the first meeting between the two since the Nov. 12 game in Boston in which Lucic collided with Miller.

Sherriff Shanny’s message: No shenanigans.

“It was cautionary, I guess you’d say,’’ said Chiarelli. “It was along the lines of ‘Hey, there’s been a lot of things said about it in the media . . . play your game, but know that you’re going to be under a microscope.’ ’’

And Chiarelli’s response?

“I said, ‘We’re not going to play any different.’ ’’

Shanahan will be able to enjoy a restful Thanksgiving. There was nothing during the night that would have anyone in NHL hockey ops calling for review.

Home for the holiday

The Bruins called off a scheduled workout for late this morning at the Garden. They face the Red Wings tomorrow afternoon (Ch. 7) and the Jets Saturday night . . . The Michigan-raised Thomas likely will go again tomorrow, leaving backup Tuukka Rask to face the Jets . . . The Bruins won 56 percent of the faceoffs, led by a sizzling Rich Peverley, who won 10 of his 14 drops. Buffalo’s Jochen Hecht, playing in his first game this season, lost 11 of 17 faceoffs . . . Seguin’s goal, his 12th this season, was also his eighth during the club’s 10-game win streak . . . Ex-Bruin Brad Boyes suffered a lower-body injury in the first period and did not return, retiring after six shifts and 4:17 in ice time . . . Zdeno Chara and Drew Stafford led all shooters with seven shots apiece.

Kevin Paul Dupont can be reached at dupont@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeKPD.

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