BOSTON — Tempers were flaring Saturday afternoon at TD Garden, with the Bruins and Capitals getting an early start on some St. Patrick’s Day rowdiness.
The B’s ended up winning the physical tilt 4-1, and that was thanks in large part to the club’s ability to dominate physically. It was a favorable matchup for the Bruins who played the role of bully on Saturday as well as you could.
That didn’t stop the Capitals from getting involved, either. There were officially three fights, and there could have been more had referees and linesmen not broken up a handful of scuffles after the whistle. While some members of the Caps, particularly Matt Hendricks, seemed more than willing to give it a go, Washington wasn’t particularly thrilled with what went down.
“We have some big forwards, we have some guys that can play physical if they want to do that,” Washington head coach Adam Oates said after the game, according to the Washington Times. “But we don’t want to play that kind of game, we don’t want to get involved in their game.”
The Capitals were none too pleased with some physical play that unfolded in the third period. Hendricks and Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton could be seen having words prior to a faceoff in the Washington zone. Hendricks wanted no part of it. The puck was then dropped and as play shifted into the neutral zone, Thornton was once again unsuccessful in his attempt to pick a fight. That prompted Adam McQuaid to jump into the fray, essentially forcing Hendricks into the unfortunate situation of having to choose between Thornton and McQuaid.
Hendricks chose McQuaid, and the big Bruins defenseman ended up taking Hendricks to the ice, only to pick him back up and give him a couple of more big rights before the fight ended.
“The biggest joke I’ve ever seen,” Washington’s Karl Alzner reportedly quipped.
Unsurprisingly, the Bruins had no problem with the situation after the game.
“No, I mean, we didn’t talk about that, but I saw Thorty challenging him, and, like I said, I was there as well, so he looked like he didn’t want to go with Thorty so I, like I said, I gave him a second option, and I guess he didn’t want Thorty, so he made a smart decision going to me,” McQuaid explained.
“I mean, we don’t like to see our top line fight, give in to stuff like that, so it’s one of those things where you’ve got to stick up for your teammates,” McQuaid added.
Thornton was in no mood to discuss it afterward.
“I won’t comment on it,” he said. “I think everybody saw it, that’s probably enough. I’m not going to make any more comments on it.”
The team’s first matchup on March 5 was a little tamer. The only fight in that game, a 4-3 overtime win for Washington, was between Thornton and John Erskine. The two teams meet for the third and final time on April 27.