With a 1-0 lead late over the Washington Capitals in the first period, the Boston Bruins witnessed Wilson’s cheap shot on Brandon Carlo. Boston’s fifth-year defenseman exited the game with an upper-body injury. The enigmatic Wilson didn’t receive any discipline from the on-ice officials.
The Bruins took matters into their own hands. Captain Patrice Bergeron exchanged a few words with Wilson before the start of the second period. Fellow linemate Brad Marchand sounded off in an expletive interview with NESN’s Sophia Jurksztowicz during the first intermission.
“That was a bull[expletive] there,” Marchand said to Jurkstsztowicz. “Brando [Carlo] had his head down in the corner. He [Wilson] took a liberty at a guy that was in a vulnerable spot. It was a [explitive] cheap shot there and we lost a great player.”
Bergeron and Marchand backed up their words with another stellar outing. Their teammates followed their lead in an emotional second period with newcomer Jared Tinordi dropping the gloves with Wilson. The Bruins struck thrice with Wilson in the box with Trent Frederic, Bergeron and Marchand lighting the lamp in the middle stanza.
Frederic and Wilson exchanged pleasantries again in the third period immediately after Nick Ritchie’s eighth goal of the season. Damage done. The tight-knit Bruins came together and earned their defining win of the 2021 campaign at TD Garden on Friday night.
“Sometimes responding isn’t always about dropping the gloves. Obviously, what Jared did and Freddy as well is something that doesn’t go unnoticed. It’s very selfless, and it’s for each other,” Bergeron said postgame. “That being said, I also think it’s about how we play and how we react. And I thought it was a solid game all-around from everyone.”
Here’s what we learned from Boston’s 5-1 statement victory over Washington.
Wilson got away unscathed, for now
Wilson’s skillset is worthy of a top-six spot on any given roster. But the Caps forward has a long way to go to improve his reputation.
He didn’t do himself any favors on Friday following his cheap shot on Carlo. In an off night for the on-ice officiating, Wilson somehow didn’t receive a penalty for his high and unnecessary hit on Boston’s fifth-year defenseman toward the end of the first period.
Yet, Wilson had to answer for his actions through Tinordi’s challenge in the second period and Frederic’s bout in the third.
The Bruins hurled a few verbal jabs at Wilson in his direction on the ice. Their displeasure didn’t start and end with the on-ice discussions.
“You can see it, he clearly hit him in the head, and then Brandon is in the ambulance and goes to the hospital from that hit. Clearly to me, it looked like he got him on the head. Defenseless player. Predatory hit from a player that’s done that before,” head coach Bruce Cassidy said of Wilson’s hit to Carlo afterward.” I don’t understand why there wasn’t a penalty called on the ice. They huddled up and I didn’t get an explanation why. But it’s out of our hands, and we just had to play hockey and stick together as a team.”
Wilson, last suspended in Oct. 2018, may not be so fortunate when he hears from the NHL Player Safety Department.
The officiating crew declined to police things during and after Wilson’s hit on Carlo. This prompted the Bruins to take matters into their own hands.
Tinordi’s fight with Wilson trickles down to Boston’s offense
The B’s were clinging to a 1-0 lead when Tinordi, in his second game since arriving from Nashville off waivers, dropped the gloves with Wilson at 6:12 of the middle stanza.
Tinordi, nearly a week removed from his 16-plus hour driving adventure from Nashville to Boston, left a lasting impression with his new team.
“You can’t have guys like that taking liberties out there. That’s the way I’ve always played, and that’s the way the guys on the team have played,” Tinordi said. “I thought it was a little bit of a cheap shot. Our guy goes down and we responded in a big way. You put the fight aside, and then boys came out for four goals there.”
“From the second he got here, he’s been a great teammate. He’s been a great player when he’s been in the lineup and that’s another element he brings,” Marchand said of Tinordi. “He’s tough, he’s willing to stick up for his teammates and he showed that tonight. It was the turning point of the game. He stepped up, had a great fight and we just rolled from there.”
With Carlo being transported to a local hospital and Tinordi serving his fighting major in the penalty box, the Bruins were down to four defensemen for a five-minute span. It didn’t hinder them one bit.
Boston’s offense then got to work. Frederic deflected home his third career goal off a Charlie McAvoy feed a mere 31 seconds after the fisticuffs. With Wilson and Tinordi still in the penalty box, Bergeron and Marchand added their ninth and twelfth goals of the season, respectively, just 5:58 apart.
If these first four meetings were any indication, then the next quartet of scheduled contests should be doozies. To think these two teams could also face each other in a seven-game playoff series as well.
In an unusual season, we may very well have a brewing rivalry on our hands between two makeshift East Division foes.
Tim Rosenthal serves as the Managing Editor of Bruins Daily. He started contributing videos to the site in 2010 before fully coming on board during the Bruins' Stanley Cup run in 2011. His bylines over the last decade have been featured on Boston.com, FoxSports.com, College Hockey News, Patch and Inside Hockey. You can follow Tim on Twitter @_TimRosenthal.
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