It was also a big night for many individual Caps players: Alex Ovechkin’s 608th goal, Nicklas Backstrom’s 800th assist, and a Braden Holtby assist which means he currently has more points than the entire Bruins roster.
But it was also a night for a not-so-great first: Lars Eller’s first career fight, which he was roped into because Brad Marchand was grumpy his team was getting pummeled. Marchand’s reason for fighting too was questionable.
To kickstart Marchand’s fury, Eller scored this beautiful semi-breakaway goal off a gorgeous Chandler Stephenson saucer pass.
Eller celebrated accordingly, whipping his wrist up and down. He also did so right in front of the Bruins bench.
NBC Sports tried to find the over-the-top showboating that would justify Marchand’s beatdown, but there wasn’t anything there.
The NBC crew scanning Eller's celebration for behavior that might justify Marchand jumping him is inane and typical.
— RMNB (@russianmachine) October 4, 2018
Marchand then did the Marchand thing on the next shift, sucker punching Eller in the middle of a play in the Bruins zone. Lars tries to defend himself, but instead Marchand gets a few pops in on Eller’s forehead.
If you’re a particularly good lip reader, you know Brad is mad because he mouths a word that rhymes with “duck.”
Lars headed back to the bench bleeding profusely from his forehead.
Marchand then received a two minute penalty for instigating, a five minute penalty for fighting, and a 10 minute misconduct.
“His celebration was unnecessary,” Marchand told Mike Brehm after the game. “He took an angle in front of the bench and celebrated in a 7-0 game, so I just let him know.”
Marchand’s coach, former Capitals bench boss Bruce Cassidy, thought Marchand’s message was correct and he had a right to send it.
Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy on Marchand going after Eller: "That's good. He's a proud guy. I think Eller celebrated a little on a 7-0 goal. I think that's his prerogative and Marchy let him know that that's not acceptable. That's that and we move on."
— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) October 4, 2018
This was Marchand’s first fight in two years, when he tangoed with the Nashville Predator’s Roman Josi.
The Caps were none too pleased with Marchand’s justification. TJ Oshie lamented “They want to get the dirty stuff out of the game. At least Tom’s play was on the ice and he was hitting the guy that had the puck milliseconds before.
“And then you see tonight the sucker punches that Lars took in,” Oshie continued. “So they kind of set the standard. Marchand has a history, and we trust that they’ll do what they’re supposed to do and take care of business.”
So far, the league will not punish Marchand for his actions according to Elliotte Friedman.
Wondered if there would be any action from last night, but told Brad Marchand in the lineup this evening for BOS
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) October 4, 2018
It should be noted that Max Domi received a suspension for instigating a fight against Florida’s Aaron Ekblad in the preseason.
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